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"Mannish Boy", or "Manish Boy" as it was first named, is a blues standard first recorded by Muddy Waters in 1955. The song was a hit and reached #5 during a stay of six weeks in the Billboard R&B chart. It is a arrangement of (and an "answer song" to) Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" (which in turn was inspired by Waters' and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man"). "Mannish Boy" features a repeating stop-time figure on one chord through out the song and is credited to Waters, Mel London, and Bo Diddley. Backing Muddy Waters (vocal and guitar) are: Otis Spann (piano), Jimmy Rogers (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass), Francis Clay (drums), and either Junior Wells or Little Walter (harmonica).

Muddy Waters recorded several versions of "Mannish Boy" during his career. In 1968, he recorded it for the Electric Mud album in Marshall Chess' attempt to attract the rock market. After he left Chess, he recorded it for the 1977 Hard Again album which was produced by Johnny Winter. The song also was included on the live album Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live (1979).

In 1986, Muddy Waters' original "Mannish Boy" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame "Classics of Blues Recordings" category. It was also included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Famemarker's list of the "500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll". "Mannish Boy" is ranked #229 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".

Cover versions

A cover by Jimi Hendrix appears on the compilation album Blues. Paul Butterfield covered the song in 1986 on his album The Legendary Paul Butterfield Rides Again. It was covered by Hindu Love Gods in their album of the same name. The song also appears on The Bocephus Box, a three-CD box set by Hank Williams, Jr., released in 2000. Elliott Murphy covered it in 2005 on Murphy gets Muddy. The Rolling Stones have often incorporated this song, among other blues standards, into their live set, and it can be heard on the albums Love You Live and Rarities 1971-2003.

It was further rearranged in the 2003 Martin Scorsese series entitled 'The Blues'. In the 5th part title Godfathers and Sons directed by Marc Levin the song was redone by 21. The ElectriK Mud Kats A.K.A. (The Electric Mud Band) with vocals by Chuck D, Common & Kyle Jason.

Use in film and television

In the movies, this song was used in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Better Off Dead and Risky Business, and is performed by Muddy Waters in the concert film The Last Waltz (although it was later misidentified by both director Martin Scorsese and Robbie Robertson, guitarist for The Band, as "I'm A Man"). This song is also a part of the "Sunday, May 11th, 1980" montage in the movie Goodfellas. This song is also used in the movie "Risky Business," played by Muddy Waters. A cover version performed by the fictional band Electric Haze in the 1979 More American Graffiti. In More American Graffiti, the song has been mislabeled as I'm a Man.


  1. Scorsese M.

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