William James "Willie" Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. He was proficient in playing both the upright bass and the guitar and was a capable singer, but he is perhaps best known as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time. Next to Muddy Waters, Dixon is recognized as the most influential person in shaping the post–World War II sound of the Chicago blues.
Dixon’s songs have been recorded by countless musicians in many genres as well as by various ensembles in which he participated. A short list of his most famous compositions includes "Hoochie Coochie Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "Little Red Rooster", "My Babe", "Spoonful", and "You Can’t Judge a Book by the Cover". These songs were written during the peak years of Chess Records, from 1950 to 1965, and were performed by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, and Bo Diddley; they influenced a generation of musicians worldwide.
Dixon also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs have been covered by some of the biggest artists of more recent times, such as Cream, Jeff Beck, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Steppenwolf, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. The debut albums by the first six of those artists all feature at least one of his songs, a measure of his influence on rock music.
He received a Grammy Award and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.