Mannish Boy

Muddy Waters

About Mannish Boy

"Mannish Boy" (or "Manish Boy" as it was first labeled) is a blues standard by Muddy Waters. First recorded in 1955, the song is both an arrangement of and an "answer song" to Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man", which was in turn inspired by Waters' and Willie Dixon's "Hoochie Coochie Man". "Mannish Boy" features a repeating stop-time figure on one chord throughout the song and is credited to Waters, Mel London, and Bo Diddley. Although the song contains sexual boasting, its repetition of "I'm a man, I spell M, A child, N" was understood as political. Waters had recently left the South for Chicago. "Growing up in the South, African-Americans [would] never be referred to as a man – but as 'boy'. In this context, the song [is] an assertion of black manhood." 


 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

Oh, yeah
Oh, yeah

Everything gonna be alright this mornin'
Now, when I was a young boy
At the age of five
My mother said I was gonna be
The greatest man alive
But now I'm a man
I'm age twenty-one
I want you to believe me, honey
We having lots of fun

I'm a man (yeah)
I spell M
A, child
That represent man
No B
O, child
That spell mannish boy
I'm a man
I'm a full-grown man
I'm a man
I'm a rollin' stone
I'm a man
I'm a hoochie-coochie man

Sittin' on the outside
Just me and my mate
I'm made to move
Come up two hours late
Wasn't that a man?
I spell M
A, child
That represesnt man
No B
O, child
That spell mannish boy
I'm a man
I'm a full-grown man
I'm a man
I'm a rolllin' stone
I'm a man
Full-grown man
Oh, well
Oh, well

 The easy, fast & fun way to learn how to sing:

Muddy Waters

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), known as Muddy Waters, was an American blues musician, generally considered the "father of modern Chicago blues". He was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s, and was ranked No. 17 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. more »

1 fan

Written by: Ellas Mcdaniel, Melvin London, Mckinley Morganfield

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

11 facts about this song

Release Date
"Mannish Boy" was first released by Chess Records in June 1955, making it one than more than 65 years old.
Cover Versions
The song became so popular that it was covered by many famous musicians. Some popular covers include Jimi Hendrix's 1970 cover on his posthumous album "Blues", The Rolling Stones' cover in 1977, and George Thorogood's cover in 1985.
Cultural Impact
"Mannish Boy" is considered one of the most influential songs in Rock and Blues history. Many blues and rock musicians have credited this song as an inspiration in their careers.
Chart Performance
When it was first released, the song reached number 5 on the Billboard R&B chart. It was an immediate hit and is still popular today.
Muddy Waters' Singing Technique
Muddy Waters was known for his 'call and response' style of singing which he perfected in "Mannish Boy". This vocal technique is a common feature in many traditional African songs and was eventually incorporated into blues and jazz music.
Song Inspiration
The song was written as a response to Bo Diddley's 1955 hit "I'm a Man". Muddy Waters reverse the order, singing "I'm a Mannish Boy".
The lyrics of "Mannish Boy" reflect Muddy Waters' toughness and sexual prowess, which was a common theme in Blues music of that era.
Song Structure
Unlike most popular songs, "Mannish Boy" does not follow the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure. Instead, it consists of different lyrical and instrumental sections resulting in a unique, non-linear structure.
Inclusion in the Grammy Hall of Fame
In 1998, "Mannish Boy" was recognized for its cultural and historical significance and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Inclusion in Film and Television
The song has been featured in numerous movies and TV shows, including "Goodfellas", "Casino", "Risk", and "The Sopranos". This demonstrates its enduring popularity and cultural significance.
Song Writing Credits
Although Muddy Waters is often credited with writing "Mannish Boy", the song was actually co-written by Muddy Waters, Mel London, and Bo Diddley (under his real name Ellas McDaniel).

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    Mannish Boy

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