William Christopher Handy (November 16, 1873 – March 28, 1958) was a composer and musician, known as the Father of the Blues. An African American, Handy was one of the most influential songwriters in the United States. He was one of many musicians who played the distinctively American blues music, and he is credited with giving it its contemporary form. Handy did not create the blues genre and was not the first to publish music in the blues form, but he took the blues from a regional music style (Delta blues) with a limited audience to one of the dominant national forces in American music.
Handy was an educated musician who used elements of folk music in his compositions. He was scrupulous in documenting the sources of his works, which frequently combined stylistic influences from various performers.