Today we lost a true legend of Blues and music world in B.B. King. With the sweet guitar sound of Lucille and his soulful voice, B.B. King introduced the Blues to multiple generations.
B.B. King was born Riley B. King in Itta Bena Mississippi. Raised by his grandmother after his mother died picking cotton on a sharecrop farm with his father leaving after her death. Like many great artists, he got his start singing in a church choir. He had an urge to play the Blues guitar, and was taken under Bukka White and began what now is the career of a legend.
His famous guitar, known as Lucille, was rescued from a bar fire after two men got in a fight over a woman. After King rescued his guitar he named her Lucille, after the woman the men were fighting over.
King was a true ambassador for the blues. It is estimated that he had played well over 15,000 shows across the world and helped spread the influence of the Blues. Many great musicians have said B.B. helped mold their music. He was a Bluesman and showman in every sense of the words.
Over his musical career, B.B. King received multiple awards. 15 Grammys, a Grammy lifetime achievement, and his album ‘The Thrill is Gone’ received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award. He was inducted in both the Blue’s and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, given a National Medal of Arts, Awarded with the Kennedy Center Honor, Presidential Medal of Freedom, and 2 Honorary Doctorate in Music by Yale and Brown and among many other awards.
He personally was an influential artist in my life and in the music I listen to today. It’s always a sad day for me to see one of my favorite artist leave this earth, but that smokey Blues club in the sky will be rocking tonight. I can see the sign: “TONIGHT MR. B.B. KING AND FRIENDS PLAY THE BLUES” with a lineup that will be amazing. All the greats that have gone before him such as Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Son House will be there to greet him at the gate with that sweet sound.
We will not only miss the music, but the personality of Mr. King. There will truly never be another one like B.B. King.
RIP B.B., the pains of this world is no more. Go play Lucille with all the friends that went before.