B.B King’s Birthday Blues

The Blues Master was born on this day in 1925

B.B King’s Birthday Blues

On this day, September 16th, 1925, Riley B. King, better known as B.B. King, was born in Berclair, Mississippi. The blues sovereign would have turned 92 today. King was born on a cotton plantation in Berclair, Mississippi, and later worked at a cotton gin in Indianola, Mississippi. He was attracted to music and the guitar in church, and began his performance career in juke joints and local radio. He later lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, and toured the world extensively, B.B King named his guitar Lucille. No one has to explain how important B.B. was in the blues and music world; he was one of the best guitarists ever (ranked 6th by Rolling Stone), and was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. It’s amazing to think about the generations of guitarists that B.B. King’s music helped to create. All of blues and rock’s best of the best from The Rolling Stones to Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton to John Mayer, among many others, were influenced by The King. He is one of the reasons the electric guitar sounds the way it does today and one of the biggest contributors to guitar playing ever. In 1971, King won a Grammy for his version of the song “The Thrill Is Gone” which became one of his signature songs and among the most memorable ones he did. Throughout his career King was nominated and won several important music awards, including over 15 Grammy Awards wins. A long and productive career that revolutionized the place of Blues in the mainstream came to an end on May 14, 2015 when King passed away aged 89 due to complications from Diabetes. B.B King has left a rich and varied body of work, in a legacy that keeps influencing musicians all around the world, specially guitarists.

Watch B.B King performing “The Thrill Is Gone” Live at Montreux in 1993

 

Listen to some of B.B King’s most memorable songs compiled by Pop Expresso on Spotify

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