JACKSON, Miss. – Famed bluesman Little Milton Campbell (search), who honed his music in the 1950s when it was called "black music," died Thursday of complications of a stroke, his publicist Carrie Newton confirmed.
Newton said Campbell, 71, died Thursday about 8:50 a.m. at a Memphis, Tenn., hospital. Newton said no other details were being immediately released.
Campbell suffered a stroke on July 27.
The Inverness native had been scheduled to perform Aug. 11 at Clarksdale's Ground Zero Blues Club for the blues documentary "Native Sons," (search) but that performance was canceled.
Campbell's last appearance in Jackson was at The Allman Brothers Band concert in May.
His hit record "We're Gonna Make It" and his 1978 vintage black jacket were on display in Clarksdale last year as part of a "Sweet Home Chicago" exhibit at the Delta Blues Museum.
Funeral services were pending.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Patricia, and several children.
Campbell told The Associated Press in an interview last year that the "Sweet Home Chicago" exhibit would raise the awareness of blues music and those who perform.
"It was a very good feeling ... to see people get excited, they want to shake your hand," Campbell said. "The people are the stars, not me. I am just one that is fortunate to have a little talent. "When you do it right, they remember you and that is important to me.
"To realize that they are trying to immortalize in a sense your contribution to your profession, certainly none of us are going to live forever, basically in a sense it sort of makes you immortal to know that once you are gone, people are going to walk by and some will say 'you were great.' Some will say 'maybe you weren't so great,"' he said.
Campbell's music was described as having a gritty feel, with pleading vocals and frequently lyrics of dashed love.
Campbell was born on a Mississippi Delta farm near Inverness on Sept. 17, 1934. He was named after his father, Big Milton, who was a locally known blues musician.
In 1953, Campbell was introduced to Sam Phillips of Sun Records.
In a 2003 tribute to the late Phillips, Campbell said Phillips cared little about critics who were unhappy with "what they called at that time, black music."
"He would always say, 'Well, I don't worry about what nobody else say. I'm going to do what I want to do,"' Campbell said.
Campbell went on to record "I'm a Lonely Man" and "That Will Never Do" for Bobbin Records. He switched to Checker Records in 1960 and in 1965, he had a hit entitled "We're Gonna Make It."
Campbell joined Stax Records in 1971 and recorded "Annie Mae's Cafe" and "Little Bluebird," two of his most memorable songs.
At his death, Campbell was signed with Malaco Records in Jackson. He went there in 1984, and wrote "The Blues Is Alright."
Campbell was presented with the W.C. Handy 1988 Blues Entertainer of the Year. He was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame that year.