Earl Silas Johnson IV (February 7, 1934 – April 17, 2003), known as Earl King, was an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter, most active in blues music. A composer of blues standards such as “Come On” (covered by Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan) and “Big Chief” (recorded by Professor Longhair), he was an important figure in New Orleans R&B.
King was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. His father was a piano player. He died when Earl was still a baby, and Earl was brought up by his mother. With his mother, he started going to church at an early age. In his youth he sang gospel music, but he took the advice of a friend to switch to blues to make a better living.