The Mississippi native, who is said to have taught Ike Turner how to play the piano and influenced other famous piano players such as Elton John and Billy Joel, began his career as a pianist in 1943. He played in bands for Nighthawk, Sonny Boy Williamson's King Biscuit Boys and guitarist Earl Hooker before recording "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" in 1953. The song became his nickname (his real name is Joe Willie Perkins) and his signature song.
Perkins joins Muddy Waters' band in 1969 and played with him for more than a decade, including the band's famous final concert in 1976, "The Last Waltz." After helping to form the Legendary Blues Band in 1980, Perkins later turned his focus to a solo career.
He won three Grammy awards: once for lifetime achievement in 2005, and twice for best traditional blues album in 2008 and 2011. A documentary about his life, Born in the Honey, was released in 2007.
He released his last album, Joined At the Hip (with Willie "Big Eyes" Smith) in 2010.