His reign as king of the blues has been as long as any monarch on earth. However, bb the king continues to wear his crown well. at 76, he’s still light-footed, singing and playing the blues with unrelenting passion. time has no apparent effect on bb, other than to make him more popular, more beloved, more relevant than ever. don’t look for it in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him on the road, playing for people, appearing on a myriad of television shows. commercials or recording tracks for his next album. Bed and breakfast. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can’t get enough of him.
For more than half a century, Riley B. king – better known as b.b. king – has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. since he began recording in the 1940s, he has released more than fifty albums, many of them classics. He was born on September 16, 1925 on a plantation in Bena Itta, Mississippi, near Indianola. in his youth, he would play on street corners for dimes and sometimes play as many as four towns a night. In 1947, he hitchhiked to Memphis, TN, to pursue his musical career. Memphis was the place where all the important musicians of the South gravitated, and which supported a large musical community where all styles of African-American music could be found. Bed and breakfast. He stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues players of his time, who raised B.B. more into the art of the blues.
b.b.’s first big break. It came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio show at Kwem Out of West Memphis. This led to constant engagements at the 16th Avenue Grill in West Memphis, and later to a ten-minute slot on the black-run and staffed Memphis radio station Wdia. the “king’s place” became so popular that it was expanded into the “sepia swing club”. soon bb needed a catchy radio name. what started out as beale street blues boy was shortened to blues boy king, and eventually b.b. king.
in the mid-1950s, while b.b. He was performing at a dance in Twist, Arkansas, some fans went rogue. two men got into a fight and knocked over a kerosene stove, setting the hall on fire. Bed and breakfast. he ran outside to safety with everyone else, then realized he had left his beloved $30 acoustic guitar inside, so he rushed back into the burning building to retrieve it, narrowly escaping death . When he later found out that the fight had been over a woman named Lucille, he decided to name the guitar after her to remind him that he should never do something crazy like fight over a woman. Since then, every one of B.B.’s trademark Gibson guitars. has been called lucille.
shortly after his number one hit, “three o’clock blues”, b.b. began touring nationally. In 1956, BB and his band played a staggering 342 one-night stands. from the chitlin circuit with its small town cafes, juke joints and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, universities, resort hotels and amphitheatres, nationally and internationally, b.b. he has become the most recognized blues musician of the last 40 years.
over the years, b.b. has developed one of the most identifiable guitar styles in the world. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker, and others, integrating his precise, complex vocal chords and left-hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of the rock guitarist’s vocabulary. His economy, his every note counts phrasing, has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jeff Beck. Bed and breakfast. he has mixed traditional blues, jazz, swing, pop and mainstream jumping into a unique sound. in the words of b.b., “when i sing, i play in my mind; The moment I stop singing orally, I start singing playing Lucille.”
in 1968, b.b. played the newport folk festival and bill graham’s fillmore west on bills with today’s top contemporary rock artists who idolized b.b. and helped introduce it to a young white audience. in “69, b.b. he was chosen by the rolling stones to open 18 American concerts for them; ike and tina turner also played 18 shows.
He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received the Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement for Naras in 1987 and received honorary doctorates from the University tougaloo(ms) in 1973; Yale University in 1977; Berklee College of Music in 1982; Rhodes College of Memphis in 1990; mississippi valley state university in 2002 and brown university in 2007. in 1992, he received the national award of distinction from the university of mississippi.
in 1991, b.b. king’s blues club opened on beale street in memphis, and in 1994, a second club opened on universal citywalk in los angeles. A third club opened in New York City’s Times Square in June 2000, and more recently two clubs opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in January 2002. In 1996, the On The Road CD-Rom featuring B.B. king: an interactive autobiography was released to rave reviews. Also in 1996, B.B.’s autobiography, “Blues All Around Me” (written with David Ritz for Avon Books) was published. In a similar vein, doubleday posted “the arrival of b.b. King” by Charles Sawyer, in 1980.
He continued to tour extensively, averaging more than 250 concerts per year around the world. classics like “Pay the Cost to Be the Boss”, “The Thrill Has Gone”, How Blue Can You Get, “Everyday I Got The Blues”, and “Why I Sing The Blues” are concert (and fan) staples to Over the years, the Grammy Award winner has had two #1 R&B hits, 1951’s “Three O’clock Blues” and 1952’s “You Don’t Know Me,” and four #1 R&B hits. 2, 1953’s “” Please Love Me”, 1954’s “You Annoy Me, Honey”, 1960’s “Sweet Sixteen, Part I”, and 1966’s “Don’t Answer the Door, Part I”. B.B.’s most popular crossover hit, 1970’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” moved to No. 15 pop.
passed away in his sleep on May 14, 2015