Big Bill Broonzy

Birth Name:
Lee Conley Bradley
Birth Date:
June 26, 1903
Birth Place:
Lake Dick, Arkansas
Death Date:
August 15, 1958
Place of Death:
Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death:
Throat cancer
Cemetery Name:
Lincoln Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Big Bill Broonzy was an American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist and was one of the few country blues musicians of the '20s and '30s to find success when the music evolved into an electric, urbanized form. From his initial sides with Paramount in 1928, he followed the music's development closely. Switching to electric guitar and adding drums to his music in the late 1930s, he helped pave the way for the Chicago bluesmen that followed him. In the 1950s a return to his traditional folk-blues roots made him one of the leading figures of the emerging American folk music revival and an international star. His long and varied career marks him as one of the key figures in the development of blues music in the 20th century. Broonzy copyrighted more than 300 songs during his lifetime, including both adaptations of traditional folk songs and original blues songs. As a blues composer, he was unique in writing songs that reflected his rural-to-urban experiences. In 1980, he was inducted into the first class of the Blues Hall of Fame, along with 20 other of the world's greatest blues legends. In 2007, he was inducted into the first class of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame, along with 11 other musical greats, including Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Gene Autry, and Lawrence Welk.

Fun Facts

His mother, who was born a slave, died in 1957 at the age of 102, having survived to see Broonzy become a world-famous figure. His autobiography, Big Bill Blues, appeared in 1955.

Big Bill Broonzy sang at his own funeral. During the service, a recording of Broonzy himself, singing “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” from the Randle recording session the previous year was played.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Lincoln Cemetery

12300 Kedzie Avenue

Blue Island, Illinois, 60406


North America


Cemetery map of Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island Illinois

Grave Location:

Section TLA, Lot 289

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery from the corner of Kedzie and 123rd Street in Blue Island (outside of Chicago) park at the office and walk over to the section directly across the street. Walk up and around the mausoleum and count 7 rows into the section behind the mausoleum and in the same row as the “Larrey” monument.

Grave Location GPS

41.67071364180528, -87.7011322596167



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