One of the most important guitarists and vocalists of the genre, not without reason bearing the nickname “King of the Blues.” His real name was Riley Ben King and he was born on September 16, 1925 in Indianola, USA.
He started performing in Memphis in 1946. During the first years of activity, he worked, among others as a singer on a local radio station playing rhythm & blues and as a DJ. It was then that he gained his artistic nickname “B.B.”, which is an abbreviated version of “Beale Street Blues Boy”.
The beginnings of his career were not the easiest – the best times came for the artist only in the 1950s. Back then, B.B. King has become one of the most important performers of rhytm & blues thanks to a whole series of great hits such as “Woke Up This Morning”, “Every Day I Hale The Blues,” Bad Luck “,” You Upset Me Baby “and” Sweet Little Angel ” “.
In 1964, the live album “Live At Regal” was released, recorded during a performance in Chicago. It is considered one of the greatest albums in the history of blues. A success that goes far beyond the blues environment brought the artist a cover of Roy Hawkins’s composition “The Thrill is Gone”. The song made it to the charts and became one of the most important songs by B.B. King. The 70’s brought another music success and such hits as “I Like to Live the Love”.
The next decades of B.B. King was not full of so many recordings. The artist, however, was very active all the time, giving about 300 concerts a year and appearing in television shows. He was also able to gain new fans, as in 1988, when he recorded the song “When Love Comes To Town” with the band U2, which was released on the Irish album “Rattle and Hum”. Another interesting musical duo in his career was a joint release with Clapton “Riding with the King” from 2000.
In 2005, on the occasion of the Master’s 80th birthday, the album “80” was released with the participation of many recognized musicians, incl. Sheryl Crow, Elton John and Mark Knopfler. The discography of B.B. King is closed by “Live”, which was released in 2008.
In 1980, B.B. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and in 1987 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was ranked 6th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
B.B. King died on May 14, 2015 in Las Vegas.