Big Walter Horton

King of the Blues Harmonica
Birth Name:
Walter Horton
Birth Date:
April 6, 1921
Birth Place:
Horn Lake, Mississippi
Death Date:
December 8, 1981
Place of Death:
South Side Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death:
Heart disease
Cemetery Name:
Restvale Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Big Walter “Shakey” Horton was legendary blues harmonica and vocalist and while much less known than Little Walter or Sonny Boy Williamson #2, was one of the greatest harp players in the history of the blues. While he recorded very little under his own name, his talent graced the records of Memphis Minnie, Muddy Waters, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon and Eddie Taylor. Horton (who is said to have been somewhat shy) was not a natural group leader and therefore produced few solo albums. His best work is as a sideman; his backup harmonica and virtuoso harp solos have graced many great Chicago blues recordings -- turning an otherwise good cut into a dynamite jam. Sadly his final years were marked by few opportunities, no recording contract and an excessive amount of alcohol. He died in extreme poverty at the age of 60 from heart disease. According to Willie Dixon, Big Walter "was the best blues harmonica player in the world."

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Restvale Cemetery

11700 S Laramie Avenue

Alsip, Illinois, 60803


North America


Map of Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois
Map of Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois

Grave Location:

Section J-1, Lot 39, Grave 5

Grave Location Description

As you drive through the entrance off Laramie Road, turn left and drive to the end past the war memorial on your left. Big Walter’s simple memorial is located 9 rows from the fence bordering Laramie Road and 14 plots from the hedges in Section J-1.

Grave Location GPS

41.67656202573207, -87.74942836809129



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