The blues was like that problem child that you may have had in the family. You was a little bit ashamed to let anybody see him, but you loved him. You just didn’t know how other people would take it.
~B. B. King
I never use that word, retire.
~B. B. King
Universally hailed as the reigning king of the blues, the legendary B.B. King is without a doubt the single most important electric guitarist of the last half century. His bent notes and staccato picking style have influenced legions of contemporary bluesmen, while his gritty and confident voice — capable of wringing every nuance from any lyric — provides a worthy match for his passionate playing.
~Bill Dahl (allmusic.com)
The Thrill Is Gone (Live at Montreux 1993):
|Birth name||Riley King|
|Also known as||B.B. King, King of the Blues|
|Born||September 16, 1925 (age 88)|
|Origin||Itta Bena, Mississippi, United States|
|Genres||Blues, soul blues, jazz, blues rock, electric blues, rhythm and blues, soul|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, piano|
|Labels||Geffen/Interscope/Universal,Bullet Records, RPM Records,Crown, ABC, MCA,Reprise/Warner Bros.,Virgin/EMI|
|Associated acts||Bobby Bland, Eric Clapton, Pappo, Big Krit|
Riley B. King (born September 16, 1925), known by the stage name B.B. King, is an American songwriter, vocalist, and famed blues guitarist.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. and No. 17 in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time. According to Edward M. Komara, King “introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed.” King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He is widely considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, because of this he is often nicknamed ‘The King of Blues’. He is also known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career appearing at 250-300 concerts per year until his seventies. In 1956 it was noted that he appeared at 342 shows, still at the age of 86 King appears at 100 shows a year.
Over a period of 63 years, King has played in excess of 15,000 performances.
Over the years, King has developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others, integrating his precise and complex vocal-like string bends and his left hand vibrato, both of which have become indispensable components of rock guitarists’ vocabulary. His economy and phrasing has been a model for thousands of players, from Eric Clapton and George Harrison to Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck. King has mixed blues, jazz, swing, mainstream pop and jump into a unique sound. In King’s words, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”
Everyday I have the Blues:
Honors & awards:
- In 1977, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music by Yale University
- In 1980, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
- In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
- In 1990, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
- In 1991, he was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship from the NEA.
- King was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995. This is given to recognize “the lifelong accomplishments and extraordinary talents of our nation’s most prestigious artists.”
- In 2004, the Royal Swedish Academy of Music awarded him the Polar Music Prize for his “significant contributions to the blues”.
- On December 15, 2006, President George W. Bush awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- On May 27, 2007, King was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Brown University.
- On May 14, 2008, King was presented with the keys to the city of Utica, New York; and on May 18, 2008, the mayor of Portland, Maine, Edward Suslovic, declared the day “B.B. King Day” in the city. Prior to King’s performance at the Merrill Auditorium, Suslovic presented King with the keys to the city.
- In 2009, TIME named B.B. King No.3 on its list of the 10 best electric guitarists of all time.
- Each year during the first week in June, a B.B. King Homecoming Festival is held in Indianola, Mississippi.
- A Mississippi Blues Trail marker was added for B.B. King, commemorating his birthplace.
- On May 29, 2010, Sabrosa Park (at the small town of Sabrosa, north of Portugal) was renamed B.B. King Park in honor of King and the free concert he played before 20,000 people.
How Blue Can You Get (Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll):
Album of the day – Live At The Regal (1965):