You are here

Pinetop Perkins

Cause of Death: 
Years Active: 
Associated Artists: 
Played With: 

Joseph William Perkins, known by the stage name Pinetop Perkins, was an American blues musician, specializing in piano music. He played with some of the most influential blues and rock and roll performers in American history, and received numerous honors during his lifetime including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. Elmore James was his cousin. He appeared in the “Blues Brothers” movie as part of John Lee Hooker’s band.

Perkins outlived most of his peers even though he smoked from the age of 9, battled alcoholism into his 80s and ate at McDonald’s fast-food restaurants daily. His mother introduced him to cigarettes and whiskey.

A stabbing in a Helena hotel room severed the tendons in his left arm and forced him to give up the guitar. His attacker was a chorus girl whose ex-husband had locked her in the bathroom as a practical joke. Perkins was the first man she saw after escaping.