Arguably the most important of the female blues artists, Memphis Minnie performed for over 40 years, recorded over 100 sides, pioneered the use of electric guitar and sketched out the blueprint for urban/Chicago blues with her personalized style of songwriting. Minnie was born Lizzie Douglas in the Algiers district of New Orleans in 1897, and by the time she was 13, she had run away from home and was playing guitar and performing her own music on the streets and in the juke joints of Memphis, Tenn. Her first singles appeared in 1929, and soon Minnie became the biggest name among female blues musicians thanks to constant performing throughout the Depression and World War II. Her 1930 move to Chicago is often cited as influencing rising stars like Muddy Waters, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers. Minnie remained active until the 1950s, when she retired from performing due to health issues. She died of a stroke in 1973.