One of the most influential guitarists and vocalists of the genre, not without reason bearing the nickname “King of Blues.” His real name was Riley Ben King and was born on September 16, 1925, in Indianola in the United States.
He began stage performances in 1946 in Memphis. During the first years of activity, he worked in a local rhythm & blues radio station 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 beginning of his career was not the easiest – better times came for the artist in the 50s when B.B. King became one of the most essential rhythm & blues performers thanks to a whole series of great hits such as “Woke Up This Morning,” “Every Day I Have The Blues,” Bad Luck, ” “You Upset Me Baby” and “Sweet Little Angel.”
In 1964, the concert 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. The success far beyond the blues environment brought the artist a cover of Roy Hawkins’ The Thrill is Gone. The song appeared on the charts and became one of the most popular songs of B.B. King. The 70s brought further music successes and hits such as “I Like to Live the Love.”
The next decades of B.B. Kinga no longer abounded in so many recordings. However, the artist was very active all the time, giving even about 300 concerts a year and appearing on 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 U2 band, which appeared on the Irish album “Rattle and Hum.” Another exciting musical duo in his career was a joint release with Clapton “Riding with the King” from 2000.
In 2005, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the Master, the album “80” was released with the participation of many recognized musicians, like Sheryl Crow, Elton John, Mark Knopfler.
In 1980, B.B. King was introduced to the Blues Hall of Fame, and in 1987 to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, he was sixth on the list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time Rolling Stone magazine.
B. B. King died on May 14, 2015, in Las Vegas.