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Buddy Guy’s birthday treat: a street

Buddy Guy holds replicstreet sign presented by Ald. Robert Fioretti Sunday his club Legends. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Buddy Guy holds a replica of the street sign, presented by Ald. Robert Fioretti, Sunday at his club, Legends. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 9, 2011 12:46AM



Everyone gets a card for their birthday.

Buddy Guy got a street sign.

Chicago’s greatest living popular music icon came to his club, Legends, 700 S. Wabash, Sunday night to receive a proclamation from the City of Chicago, hang with his band and to catch a set from his daughter Carlise Guy’s Nu Blu Band. The renaming of the stretch of South Wabash in front of his club as “Buddy Guy Way” was unexpected.

The blues guitarist, who turned 75 years old on July 30, was genuinely moved.

“This is the biggest surprise since B.B. King asked me to play with him,” Guy said after the ceremony. “Things like this only come when you’re gone. My mother always told me, ‘Give me my flowers while I can smell them.’ I wanted to cry, but someone told me I was too old to cry.”

A replica of the sign was presented to Guy in front of a capacity crowd who sang “Happy Birthday.” The club was lined with blue and white balloons and later filled up with soggy Foo Fighter fans seeking escape from the rains at Lollapalooza, a few blocks away in Grant Park.

The excitement in the South Loop hints at the dream of Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) to make the area an entertainment district with the restoration of the Chess building, 2120 S. Michigan, and a possible museum at the Vee-Jay/Brunswick building, 1449 S. Michigan.

Guy is in.

“I’m asking for Chicago to step up. That’s why I’m here. Chicago has everything that drew all of us here. We’re losing that,” said Guy, who appears on George Thorogood’s new album paying tribute to Chess Records. “As long as I stay in good health I want to help keep it going.”

Guy said he is feeling all right after he canceled two Japan performances last week on doctor’s orders.

“People get a little out of line when you start aching,” he said, peering through dark shades.

“It’s like an old car. If you live to be 75, something rattles. But I got the rattlin’ straightened out. I put a screw in so it will stop rattling. I don’t know if the screw will pop out or not, but I’m OK.”



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