Elmore James was the best bottleneck player to pick up an electric guitar, and an exceptionally good singer and single note player as well. The combination of James's groundbreaking distorted guitar tone and energetic, loud-as-hell vocals changed the face of blues and rock music. Among his blues followers were B.B. King and Hound Dog Taylor, while just about every major rock guitarist has drawn from his playing: Hendrix sometimes claimed him as his number one influence, Stevie Ray Vaughan emulated his sound and played James' "The Sky is Crying," Van Halen's "Ice Cream Man" was a James cover. James played with, and learned from, Robert Johnson, Howlin Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson before leading his band, the Broomdusters (named after his trademark update of Johnson's "Dust My Broom") to outplay any challengers with their raucous, gritty Chicago Blues.