Post-War Blues and R&B

B.B. King, whose full name was Riley B. King, was a legendary American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is often referred to as the "King of the Blues" and is one of the most influential and celebrated figures in the history of blues music. Here are some key points about B.B. King:

  1. Early Life: B.B. King was born on September 16, 1925, in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He grew up on a cotton plantation and was exposed to gospel and blues music from a young age. He learned to play the guitar and sing by listening to radio broadcasts and local musicians.
  2. Influences: B.B. King's early musical influences included blues guitarists like T-Bone Walker and Lonnie Johnson. He developed a distinctive guitar style characterized by precise single-string guitar solos and expressive string bending.
  3. Move to Memphis: In 1947, B.B. King moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he began performing on Beale Street, a famous hub for blues music. Memphis became his home base, and he quickly gained recognition for his talents.
  4. Recording Career: B.B. King recorded extensively throughout his career, releasing numerous albums and singles. Some of his most famous recordings include "The Thrill Is Gone," "Lucille," "Every Day I Have the Blues," and "Sweet Little Angel." "The Thrill Is Gone" is particularly renowned and earned him a Grammy Award.
  5. Guitar Name "Lucille": B.B. King named all of his guitars "Lucille" after a near-fatal incident in which a nightclub fire broke out during a performance. He risked his life to save his beloved guitar, and the name "Lucille" became synonymous with both the guitar and B.B. King's music.
  6. Influence on Blues and Rock: B.B. King's innovative guitar techniques and soulful vocal delivery had a profound impact on both blues and rock music. His influence can be heard in the work of countless guitarists, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
  7. Live Performances: B.B. King was renowned for his live performances, where he often engaged with his audience and delivered emotionally charged shows. His "Live at the Regal" album is considered one of the greatest live blues recordings of all time.
  8. Awards and Honors: B.B. King received numerous awards and honors during his career, including multiple Grammy Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  9. Legacy: B.B. King's contributions to the blues genre and his impact on American music are immeasurable. He is celebrated for his mastery of the blues form and his ability to convey deep emotion through his music.
  10. Later Years: B.B. King continued to perform well into his later years. He remained an active and beloved figure in the world of music until his health declined. He passed away on May 14, 2015, at the age of 89.

B.B. King's enduring legacy as a blues icon, his heartfelt guitar solos, and his soulful vocals continue to inspire and resonate with blues enthusiasts and musicians worldwide. His music is a testament to the power and emotion of the blues genre.