Elmore James, with his powerful technique on both acoustic and electric guitar, is considered by many to be the king of the slide guitar. He was born Elmore Brooks, the illegitimate child of Leora Brooks, in Canton, Mississippi in 1918. Before he was a teenager he had taught himself to play on a guitar he had made himself. He began by playing local parties and juke joints, often with local blues giants Robert Johnson and Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller). In his early twenties he formed a band, the Broomdusters, but his musical career was interrupted by the second world war. James joined the Navy and served for three years in the Pacific, picking up his career when he was discharged. He began by linking again with Sonny Boy Williamson and broadcast on the King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas.

In 1951, helped by Williamson, he made his first recording, "Dust My Broom", for the Trumpet label. The song was an immediate success and entered the top ten charts in 1952. He moved to Chicago and worked with the Modern label until 1957 and then moved to the Chief label, recording the first version of "It Hurts Me Too". During this period he began playing with his cousin Homesick James (Williamson). Elmore suffered with a long term heart condition and towards the the end of the 1950's he moved back to Mississippi to rest. In 1960 he recorded for Chess, and album which included  "I Can't Hold Out" and "Madison Blues". He returned to touring with the Broomdusters, and to the studio with Fire records, during the early 1960's and had another hit with "The Sky is Crying". Returning to Chicago in 1963 for further recording work, James was taken ill and was found to be suffering from cancer. He was nursed by the wife of Homesick James and eventually died in their home of heart failure aged only 44 years old. Over a twelve year period James had recorded over 100 tracks, many of which became "classic blues songs",  and influenced very many contemporary and future generation blues and rock musicians. Elmore James was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.