Born Willie Perkins, in Belzoni, MS, in 1913, Pinetop started out playing guitar at house parties and honky tonks, and switched to piano after sustaining a serious injury that made picking a guitar painful. Perkins took is name from a song he composed “Pinetop’s Boogie”, dedicated to Clarence “Pinetop” Smith.
Perkins worked primarily in the Mississippi Delta throughout the thirties and forties, spending five years with Sonny Boy Williamson, toured extensively with slide guitar player Robert Nighthawk and briefly worked with B.B. King in Memphis. By 1953, Pinetop had developed his own unmistakable sound. His right hand plays horn lines while his left kicks out bass lines and lots of bottom.
In 1969 he joined the great Muddy Waters Band replacing Otis Spann and holding down the piano chair for twelve years. In 1980, Pinetop and other Waters’ alumni decided to go out on their own and formed the Legendary Blues Band. Tired of being a sideman throughout most of his career, Pinetop left Legendary to concentrate on a solo career. He is still alive and performing at the age of 93. MP3: Pinetop's Boogie