Slim Harpo (January 11, 1924 – January 31, 1970) was an American blues musician. He was known as a master of the blues harmonica and the name "Slim Harpo" was derived from "harp," the popular nickname for the harmonica in blues circles.
Born James Moore in Lobdell, Louisiana, the eldest in an orphaned family, he worked as a longshoreman and building worker during the late 1930s and early 1940s. He began performing in Baton Rouge bars under the name Harmonica Slim and later accompanied his brother-in-law, Lightnin' Slim, both live and in the studio. Named Slim Harpo by producer J.D. "Jay" Miller, he started his own recording career in 1957. His solo debut was the Grammy Hall of Fame single "I'm a King Bee" backed with "I Got Love If You Want It."
Harpo recorded under A&R man J.D. "Jay" Miller, in Crowley, Louisiana for Excello Records based in Nashville, Tennessee, and enjoyed a string of popular R&B singles, including Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961) and the number one Billboard R&B hit "Baby Scratch My Back" (1966). On these recordings he was accompanied by the regular stable of Excello musicians, including Lazy Lester.
British rock bands like The Rolling Stones, The Pretty Things, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and Them featured versions of his songs in their early repertoires. Later, the riff from Harpo's 1966 hit "Shake Your Hips", which itself was derivative of Bo Diddley's "Bring It to Jerome," was used in the ZZ Top hit "La Grange" and the Rolling Stones covered the song on their 1972 album Exile On Main Street. Also, Th' Legendary Shack Shakers covered and released "Shake Your Hips" in 2003 on their album Cockadoodledon't.
Never a full-time musician, Harpo had his own trucking business during the 1960s.
He died following a heart attack at the age of 46, and was buried in Mulatto Bend Cemetery in Port Allen, Louisiana.