American guitarist (1932-1993). The Master of the Telecaster. Born in Leona, Texas, Collins moved to Houston at a young age. After he started performing in clubs with Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, and Lightnin' Hopkins, Collins cut his first single in 1958. A few years after recording his most popular hit, "Frosty," Collins met the rock band Canned Heat after a show in Houston, and they offered to help him get an agent and an introduction to execs at Imperial Records in California, which lead to some record deals and more live performances on the West Coast. His percussive, ringing guitar style became his trademark, as well as informal and engaging live shows where he'd often walk off the stage -- or even out of the venue -- while still performing. None other than Jimi Hendrix cited him as an important influence.
The blues slumped in the 1970s, but he continued touring, driving his own bus to gigs until the late 1980s. Things finally started looking up for the Iceman as the 1980s blues explosion hit; he recorded more albums and won a Grammy for a blues record he made with Robert Cray and Johnny "Clyde" Copeland. More and more blues musicians, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, cited him as a major influence on their work, and he performed at Carnegie Hall and on "Late Night with David Letterman." He also appeared in the film "Adventures in Babysitting."
Unfortunately, Collins died of liver cancer not long after his influence on the blues and rock and roll began to be properly acknowledged.