The origins of the blue are poorly documented. Blues developed in the southern United States after the American Civil War (1861-65). It was influenced by work songs and field hollers, minstrel show music, ragtime, church music, and the folk and popular music of the white population. Blues derived from and was largely played by Southern Black men, most of whom came from the milieu of agricultural workers. The earliest references to blues date back to the 1890s and early 1900s. in 1912 Black bandleader W.C. Handy's composition "Memphis Blues" was published. It became very popular, and thereafter many other Tin Pan Alley songs entitled blues began to appear.
The Blues have influenced many other musical styles. Blues and jazz are closely related; such seminal jazzmen as Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong employed blues elements in their music. Soul music and rhythm and blues also show obvious blues tonalities and forms. The blues have had their greatest influence on rock music. Early rock singers such as Elvis Presley often used blues material. British rock musicians in the 1960s, especially the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and John Mayall, were strongly influenced by the blues, as were such American rock musicians as Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, and the Allman Brothers Band. Continue reading from Encyclopedia Britannica
The Painful Birth of Blues and Jazz (Library of Congress)
"Father of Blues" W.C. Handy (Biography.com)
A Brief History of the Blues (All That Jazz)
The Enduring Influence and Tradition of the Blues (Strathmore)
Is Blues the Mother of All Modern Music?
W.C. Handy "Memphis Blues" (1912)