Otis Spann

Birth Name:
Otis Spann
Birth Date:
March 21, 1924
Birth Place:
Belzoni, Mississippi
Death Date:
April 24, 1970
Place of Death:
Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death:
Liver cancer
Cemetery Name:
Burr Oak Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Arguably the most important pianist of the postwar Chicago blues scene, Otis Spann started playing piano at the age of seven, with some instruction from local piano players in his native Jackson. By 1944 he was playing in local bands around that city and three years later left for Chicago, where he would live for the rest of his tragically short life. Spann replaced Merriweather as Muddy Waters' piano player in late 1952, and had his first recording session with the band on September 24, 1953. From 1952 to 1969 Spann was a full-time member of the Muddy Waters band, which also included Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter. He was also in great demand by the Chess label as house pianist, accompanying artists like Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry ("No Money Down", "You Can't Catch Me"), Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Rogers and Little Walter. In April of 1970, blues pianist Otis Spann flew to Boston to play a gig. With him were his wife, Lucille, and his band. The concert would be Otis' last. Before he flew to Boston, doctors had diagnosed Spann with terminal liver cancer — he died three weeks after the concert.

Fun Fact

Otis Spann was posthumously elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Burr Oak Cemetery

4400 West 127th Street

Alsip, Illinois, 60803


North America

Grave Location:

Section 6, Lot 13, Row 8, Grave 31

Grave Location Description

As you pass the office on your right, continue towards the back of the cemetery to Section 6. Otis is roughly in the middle of the section. I won’t lie to you – this may take awhile to find his grave among this sea of flat monuments. Good luck!

Grave Location GPS

41.66689483922254, -87.73510293078046



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