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Sterling Magee

Sterling Magee (2020), one half of blues duo Satan & Adam

by Kirk Fox

Sterling Magee was an acclaimed blues guitarist and musician who was part of the popular blues duo known as Satan & Adam. 

  • Died: Sunday, September 6, 2020 (Who else died on September 6?
  • Details of Death: Died at the age of 84 from complications of COVID-19 in Tampa, Florida, according to the New York Times.   
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Blues Legend 

Sterling Magee had a long career as a blues guitarist and singer, performing with James Brown and Etta James. He left the professional music business after becoming disillusioned by the industry’s unfairness towards musicians. He was already a popular street performer in Harlem in the 1980s when Adam Gussow saw him play and asked if he could sit in with him on harmonica. Magee called himself Mr. Satan, a name he took after his wife death from cancer caused him to question organized religion. The duo called themselves Satan and Adam and their career took off. They were an unusual pair, a streetwise black blues player and a much younger white Ivy-League-educated harpist. They played on the U2 “Rattle and Hum” album and documentary, performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival and recorded albums. In the late 1990s, Magee had a nervous breakdown and disappeared. He was found years later in a nursing home in Tampa by filmmaker V. Scott Balcerek, who directed the acclaimed Netflix documentary “Satan & Adam.” The duo reunited and performed live including another appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2013.

Magee on the racial harmony of his partnership with Adam Gussow  

“When we get together, I’m Mr. Satan and he’s Mr. Gussow. I want to put the message out that Mr. Satan is in love with this person, and that I don’t give a damn about all that stuff.” —New York Times in 2019 

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What they said about him

Full Obituary: New York Times

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