B. B. King

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King, B. B.,

1925–2015, African-American blues singer and guitarist, b. near Indianola, Miss., as Riley B. King. He grew up poor in the Mississippi Delta region, began playing the guitar at 12, was a street corner performer as a teenager, and as a young man worked as a singing, guitar-playing radio disk jockey in Memphis. King came to prominence as a blues guitarist in 1952 with his chart-topping recording of "Three O'Clock Blues." Known in the 1940s as the "Beale Street Blues Boy," later simply as B. B., King, along with guitarists such as Muddy WatersWaters, Muddy,
1915–83, African-American blues singer and guitarist, b. Rolling Fork, Miss., as McKinley Morganfield. As a teenager he began singing and playing traditional country blues on harmonica and guitar, and in 1941 he was recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of
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 and "T-Bone" Walker, popularized electric blues music. Introducing the blues to pop audiences in the late 1960s and early 70s, in part with his most famous recording "The Thrill Is Gone" (1969), King also greatly influenced a variety of white rock guitarists. His inability to play guitar and sing simultaneously led him to use the guitar to punctuate his songs, relying heavily on his left hand to achieve rich, textural tones with dramatic, almost vocal vibrato. Among the best known of his many albums are Live at the Regal (1965), Live at Cook County Jail (1971), and Riding with the King (2000), recorded with Eric ClaptonClapton, Eric Patrick,
1945–, British guitarist, singer, and songwriter, b. Ripley, Surrey, England. A seminal figure in rock music, he is noted especially for his virtuoso guitar playing, whose style is based on American blues as played by "T-Bone" Walker, B. B.
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. Playing his famous guitar, "Lucille," he continued to record and tour into the 21st cent. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 and received the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 1990, Kennedy Center Honors in 1995, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.


See his autobiography, Blues All around Me (1996, with D. Ritz).

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King, (Riley B.) B. B.

(1925–  ) musician; born in Itta Bena, Miss. A singer and guitarist born into a sharecropping family, he became one of the best-known blues performers, an important consolidator of blues styles, and a primary model for rock guitarists. Following U.S. Army service, he began his career as a disc jockey in Memphis, Tenn., where he was dubbed "The Beale Street Blues Boy," soon shortened to B. B. He made his first recording in 1949. The following year he began a 12-year-long association with Kent/RPM/Modern, for which he recorded a string of rhythm and blues hits. He also toured the nightclub circuit continuously, averaging over 300 shows annually for nearly 30 years. In 1962, he signed with ABC Records, which released Live at the Regal, a benchmark blues concert album. In 1969, he released his biggest hit single, "The Thrill is Gone." In 1979, he became the first bluesman to tour the U.S.S.R. By this time he had also become the first bluesman to enter the pop mainstream, making regular appearances in Las Vegas, Nev., and on network television. In 1987, he was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dion Brown, executive director of the B.B. King Museum, says, "From a practical standpoint, we feel comfortable knowing his final resting place will receive perpetual care at the Museum." These plans include a water-wall and an extensive garden.
In honor of the late B.B. King, Joshua2 will perform special renditions of King's classics "The Blues" and "The Thrill is Gone."
"Perhaps, no one has helped put this region on the map for tourism more than the late, great B.B. King. We have a world-class facility in the Delta to honor him," Wicker said.
We remembered B.B. King and Eric Clapton's duet on the old Tin Pan Alley standard "Come Rain or Come Shine."
Performing at the special event were B.B. King, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Shemekia Copeland, Susan Tedeschi, Gary Clark, Jr., Keb' Mo', Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes.
Itta Bena is the birthplace of blues musician B.B. King, civil rights activist Rev.
NEW YORK-Carson Kressley, the outspoken fashion expert on Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," is hosting Gift For Life's 14th anniversary gala, which is being held May 22 at B.B. King Blues Bar & Grill here.
Opening for blues legend B.B. King was something musician Brock Stonefish never dreamed possible.
For blues, music, and B.B. King lovers, this biography is the first in the publisher's Lives in Music series.
The musical wizardry of B.B. King has captivated listeners since he began his recording career in the late-1940s, strumming the guitar and singing the blues in his own inimitable way.
The B.B. King Treasures: Photos, Mementos and Music from B.B.
Restaurants: B.B. King's Blues Club (143 Beale St., Memphis, 901-524-5464): Soul Food, Blues music memorabilia.