Blues is originated by African Americans in the USA at the end of the 19 th century. Blues musicians were mostly inspired by folk music, gospel, field hollers and chants. The form of blues music, similar to jazz, rock and roll, and rhythm and blues, can be characterized by specific progression of chords, such as twelve-bar blues.
The first blues sheet music was published in 1908: it was I Got the Blues by Antonio Maggio. It was followed by Dallas Blues by Hart Wand and The Memphis Blues by W. C. Handy in 1912. The first blues song was recorder by singer Mamie Smith in 1920, and it was a rendition of Crazy Blues by Perry Bradford. However, the origins of blues ballads and songs date back to 1890.
In 1920, well-known pioneers of blues like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, and Charlie Patton used to be blues guitarists. Occasionally, they have met other bluesmen and performed in rural joints and plantation camps. Many blues groups evolved from jug bands, which were popular until the 30s in the South areas.
When country blues musicians moved to the cities and towns, they have absorbed different regional and areal characteristics. Therefore, such branches as the Louisiana blues, the Memphis blues, the St. Louis blues, etc appeared. The Louisiana blues is characterized by harmonica and a swampy guitar, Kansas blues is jazz-influenced (think about Count Basie), British blues is a rock-blues, pioneered by Peter Green, Eric Clapton and John Mayall. In 40s, such bluesmen as Muddy Waters (Mannish Boy) and John Lee Hooker (Boom Boom Boom) were first to add drums and piano to the blues melodies.