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B.B. King

B.B. King

The King of the Blues

Riley B. King a.k.a. B.B. King, was born on September 16, 1925 in Berclair, Mississippi, in a small sharecropper's cabin. B.B. King moved to Memphis, Tennessee in his early twenties to make his living playing the blues. He landed a regular spot as a deejay and performer on radio station WDIA, where he became known as the Beale Street Blues Boy (hence, "B.B."). B.B. King is best-known for his distinctive single-note guitar sound, played on a guitar that he calls Lucille in which he bends strings till the notes seem to cry. It is a style that emanates from his blues roots deep in Mississippi while also drawing on other influences, ranging from jazz and gospel to pop and rock. Primary influences include guitarists like T-Bone Walker, Bukka White, the famous Memphis blues singer and a first cousin of his mother, and Charlie Christian, who similarly hybridized jazz and blues in a big-band context. B.B. King began recording in 1949 and had his first hit, Three O'Clock Blues on the RPM label two years later. The song topped the rhythm & blues chart for 17 weeks. Other numbers that became associated with B.B. King in the fifties include Sweet Black Angel, Rock Me Baby, and Every Day I Have the Blues. In 1961, B.B.King left RPM for ABC-Paramount Records. The in-concert LPs he released there, particularly 1962's Live at the Regal, a black Chicago nightspot, are regarded as classics of the genre. B.B. King's influence (especially in the sixties and seventies) on a generation of rock and blues guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Mike Bloomfield, and Stevie Ray Vaughan has been inestimable. Virtually every modern stylist has, to some degree, been influenced by the sweetly stinging sound of his guitar. B.B. King was a huge star in the African-American music community by 1965 he was still mostly unknown in the White community. This would change in 1965. The Thrill Is Gone became a big hit, he stopped having to play the chitlin circuit small town black clubs and started playing larger jazz clubs, dining rooms of luxury resort hotels, college concerts and rock palaces such as Filmore East. In 1969 B.B. King made his first appearance on network television on Johnny Carson's the Tonight Show. Since the 1970's B.B. King's career has moved at a rapid pace up hill. He has recorded over 75 records, has received seven Grammy Awards, including its Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, 1984, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1987, become a Member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, 1990 and many, many more. B.B. King still works between 250 and 300 days a year, calling himself a music workaholic. He has played all over the world and is the true Ambassador of the Blues.

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B.B. King Fan Pages

Biographical Information on B.B. King

Various Articles on B.B. King

Reviews and Critiques of B.B. King Live Performances and Recordings

B.B. King Interviews

B.B. King Lyrics

B.B. King Discographies

B.B. King Photos

B.B. King Videos

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