W.C. Handy (1873 – 1958)
Considered the “Father of the blues,” Handy first heard the blues being played by a lone bluesman at the railroad depot in Tutwiler, Mississippi in 1903. While Handy did not create the blues, but he is know as the first person to publish a composition with the term “blues” in the title and utilizing blues notes. The song, “Memphis Blues,” published in 1912, along with his famous “St. Louis Blues” two years later, first brought the blues genre to the masses.