Muddy Waters Estate Signs With Sony Music Publishing for Admin

Sony Music Publishing (SMP) reached a deal with the estate of Muddy Waters to handle publishing administration for his complete song catalog, the company announced Wednesday (Oct. 12)

Regarded as the father of Chicago blues and one of music’s most essential artists, Waters’ catalog includes evergreen songs like “Mannish Boy,” “Rollin’ Stone,” “Champagne & Reefer,” “I Can’t Be Satisfied,” “Country Blues,” “The Blues Had A Baby And They Called It Rock & Roll” and “Trouble No More.”

Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 for his contributions to blues and rock music. He passed away in 1983 from cancer-related complications, and afterward, a legal battle ensued between the musician’s manager, Scott Cameron, and his family over control of his financial and musical legacy for over three decades. Though Cameron controlled the estate for many years, Mercy Morganfield, the bluesman’s daughter, is now its administrator.


“On behalf of Muddy Waters’ family we take great comfort in knowing that this incredible catalog of music is going to be in the hands of Jon Platt and his team at Sony,” said Morganfield. “My father’s legacy is a vital part of not only musical history but American history. Making sure future generations are aware of the way blues legends like Dad, Howling Wolf, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy and so many others have shaped other genres of music from Rock and Roll to Hip-Hop is so important. We don’t want these names to get lost in history and in the telling and retelling of their stories. I believe we have a partner in Sony who can help keep that flame alive and expand our reach, giving my father his rightful place in music history, a place we all believe he and so many others deserve. I am looking forward to the work ahead.”

Platt, SMP’s chairman and CEO, said of the deal, “Muddy Waters was without a doubt one of the most impactful songwriters in modern music. His vibrant, expressive sound is embodied in music today and continues to inspire generations. We look forward to working with the Muddy Waters Estate to build upon its enduring songwriting legacy.”

“A true songwriter at heart, Muddy Waters’ tremendous influence set a new standard for rock and blues which remains to this day,” added Liz Lewis, senior vp of songwriter services at SMP. “We are thrilled to welcome the legendary Muddy Waters catalog to SMP, and we look forward to partnering with the Muddy Waters Estate on exciting new ways to invigorate the catalog.”