Five Long Years

Eddie Boyd

From Stovall to Helsinki

Eddie Boyd performs with Buddy Guy’s Band on the American Folk Blues Festival tour in 1965.

Eddie Boyd was born November 25, 1914 on Stovall’s Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi moving to the Beale Street district of Memphis in 1936. There he played piano and guitar with his group, the “Dixie Rhythm Boys” before migrating to Chicago in 1941. He wrote and recorded the hit songs “Five Long Years” (1952), “24 Hours” (1953), and the “Third Degree” (co-written by Willie Dixon, also 1953). Boyd toured Europe with Buddy Guy’s band in 1965 as part of the American Folk Blues Festival. He later toured and recorded with Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

Tired of the racial discrimination he experienced in the United States, he first moved to Belgium where he recorded with the Dutch band, Cuby and the Blizzards. He settled in Helsinki, Finland in 1970, where he recorded ten blues records, the first being Praise to Helsinki (1970). He married his wife, Leila, in 1977.

Boyd died in 1994 in Helsinki, Finland, just a few months before Eric Clapton released the chart-topping blues album, From the Cradle that included Boyd’s “Five Long Years” and “Third Degree

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