May 24, 1963 Elmore James, blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader, died. James was born Elmore Brooks on January 27, 1918 in Holmes County, Mississippi. He started making music at the age of 12 and as a teenager began playing at local dances. During World War II, he joined the United States Navy, was promoted to coxswain, and took part in the invasion of Guam against the Japanese. James had his first hit, “Dust My Broom,” in 1951. This was followed by such hits as “I Believe” (1952) and “The Sky is Crying” (1960). James was known as “The King of the Slide Guitar” and he influenced many current guitarists such as The Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones and Fleetwood Mac’s Jeremy Spencer. James was posthumously inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. James’ biography, “The Amazing Secret History of Elmore James,” was published in 2003.