April 17, 2003 – Earl King as Earl Silas Johnson IV was born February 7th 1934. His father, a local piano player, died when King was still a baby, and he was brought up by his mother. With his mother, he started going to church at an early age. In his youth he sang gospel music, but took the advice of a friend to switch to blues to make a better living.
He became a self taught New Orleans Blues guitar virtuoso and songwriter as he was the composer of well known standards such as “Come On” (covered by Jimi Hendrix), and Professor Longhair’s “Big Chief”. He started to play guitar at 15. Soon he started entering talent contests at local clubs. It was at one of those clubs where he met his idol Guitar Slim. Earl started imitating Slim, his presence gave a big impact on his musical directions.
In 1954, when Slim was injured in an automobile accident, Earl was deputized to continue Slim’s band tour, representing himself as Slim. After succeeding in this role, he became a regular at the Dew Drop Inn.