Johnny Winter’s debut album entitled The Progressive Blues Experiment was released in 1968. The record was released on an independent label. Johnny Winter didn’t stay on an independent label for long as Columbia Records quickly signed him and released his debut record on Columbia Records in 1969 entitled Johnny Winter. The soon-to-be legendary blues guitarist would record seven albums for Columbia Records between the years 1969 and 1974. Johnny Winter would then moved on and recorded three albums for Blue Sky records between 1977 and 1988. Johnny Winter also signed with legendary blues label Alligator Records and recorded a series of albums during the 1980s for the label.
After leaving Alligator Records Johnny Winter continued to release albums on various labels including Pointblank, Virgin and Megaforce. Johnny Winter’s recording career stretched from the late 60s into the 2010’s. Johnny Winter passed away in 2014.
Our top 10 Johnny Winter songs list is just a subjective list of great material that we feel any fan of classic rock or the blues should be aware of. It’s by far not a definite list, just a sampling of great Johnny Winter songs.
# 10 – Illustrated Man
We open up our top 10 Johnny Winter songs list with the great song “Illustrated Man.” The song was released on Johnny Winters fabulous album Let Me In. The album was released in 1991. It’s one of our favorite Johnny Winter albums. The record sounds so good. “Illustrated Man,” featured the trio of Johnny Winter on guitar and vocals, Tom Compton on drums and Jeff Ganz on bass. This is a really well recorded album released on Pointblank records. This one is a must!
# 9 – Please Come Home For Christmas
Well this one may be a surprise to some fans. However, those fans who actually have heard this one would agree that Johnny Winters version of “Please Come Home for Christmas,” is simply smoking. This great track was released on the follow-up album to Let Me In entitled Hey Where’s Your Brother? It Was Johnny Winter’s second of two albums recorded for Pointblank records. And speaking of Johnny Winter’s brother Edgar Winter, well we found him playing on this track.
# 8 -Tired of Tryin’
Many people argue that if it weren’t for Muddy Waters, there would be no rock and roll. That statement we pretty much agree with. Muddy Waters served as an inspiration for so many rock and roll and blues guitar players including Johnny Winter. In 1977, Johnny Winter recorded an album entitled Nothin’ but the Blues with Muddy Waters and his fabulous Blues Band.
The record defined everything that there was to know about the Blues. It showcases some of the greatest Blues musicians of all time including Muddy Waters, Pinetop Perkins and James Cotton. To represent this great Johnny Winter album, we have chosen the album’s opening track “Tired of Trying.” You won’t get tired of listening to this one.
# 7 – Rock Me Baby
Johnny Winter’s version of “Rock Me Baby,” was released on his classic album Still Alive and Well. The song was placed as the album’s opening track. On the record, the songwriting credit for the song “Rock Me Baby,” was given to Arthur Crudup and Big Bill Broonzy. However the song has a long history fueled by various writers on different versions. Check out Johnny Winter’s solo on this one. The wait was worth it for this record.
# 6 – Johnny B Goode
Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B Goode,” may be the most covered song in Classic Rock History.Throw in all the cover bands and garage bands that have played the tune over the past sixty years and it’s a fair bet to says no other song has been played more. Still, despite the song’s popularity, Johnny Winter’s version is one of the best we have ever heard.
# 5 – Mean Town Blues
For the fifth spot on our Top 10 Johnny Winter Songs list we go back all the way to the beginning. The killer Johnny Winter recording of “Mean Town Blues,” was released on Johnny Winter’s album The Progressive Blues Experiment. It was Johnny Winter’s debut album. The album was originally released on Sonobeat Records in 1968. The song was written by Johnny Winter. The song featured Tommy Shannon on bass. Shannon would eventually become part of the great Stevie Ray Vaughan band in the 1980s. The song also featured John Turner on drums.
# 4 – Be Careful With A Fool
Oh boy do we love this one. Johnny Winters classic recording of the song “Be Careful With a Fool,” was released on the Johnny Winter album. The legendary Johnny Winter album that featured the classic Johnny Winter portrait on the cover was released in 1969. The song was written by Joe Josea and B. B. King. Six of the album’s nine tracks were cover songs. The other three were written by Johnny Winter
# 3 – Good Morning Little School Girl
One of Johnny Winter’s most loved recordings was the great track “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.” It would become one of Johnny Winter’s signature songs. The song appeared on Johnny Winter’s debut album for Columbia Records entitled Johnny Winter in 1969.The song was written by Sonny Boy Williamson. It has long been a blues classic. Some of the most famous versions included recordings by The Grateful Dead, The Yardbirds, Muddy Waters, and Johnny Lee Hooker’s smoking version.
# 2 -Jumpin’ Jack Flash (live)
The final two songs on this top 10 Johnny Winter songs list are great cover versions of songs from two of the biggest classic rock artists in history. Johnny Winters screaming version of The Rolling Stones “Jumpin Jack Flash,” was released on the Live Johnny Winter And album. The Classic live album was released in 1971. Johnny Winter’s band also featuring Rick Derringer on guitar at that time. Rick Derringer and Johnny Winter tear it up on this classic version. One of the best moments in Classic Rock History.
# 1 -Highway 61 Revisited
We close out our top 10 Johnny Winter songs list with Johnny Winters classic version of Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” This may be the best cover version of a Bob Dylan song that anyone has ever done. Johnny Winters version of Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited,” was released on the Johnny Winter Captured Live album. The album was released in 1976.
Updated Nov 12, 2020