The Mississippi-born bluesman shaped and transformed American music. If the blues is the backbone of American popular music, then Muddy Waters was the backbone of the blues. Sure, there were plenty of significant blues artists before him and others after his heyday, but Waters, who was born McKinley Morganfield in Issaquena County, Mississippi one hundred years ago this week, was a singer, guitarist, composer, and bandleader of such elemental power that he’s come to stand for everything that’s soul-stirring about the music itself. Without Waters, it’s safe to say, rock and roll and its many derivations would never have turned out the way they did. Listing those influenced by him would be a fool’s game, their number is so legion, but let’s just mention a band called the Rolling Stones, who in honor of their hero, named themselves after a classic Muddy Waters song.