B.B. King
American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter
B.B. King
Riley B. King, known by the stage name B.B. King, is an African-American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time (previously ranked No. 3 in the 2003 edition of the same list), and he was ranked No. 17 in Gibson's Top 50 Guitarists of All Time. According to Edward M.
Biography
B.B. King's personal information overview.
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News abour B.B. King from around the web
The Weird and Wonderful Latest All-Inclusive Outreach of Yiddish Soul
Huffington Post - 9 months
I arrived at Yiddish Soul, the free Concert at Summerstage in Central Park - presented by the 101-year-old National Yiddish Theatre/Folksbiene as the opening event of its Second Annual KulturfestNYC, expecting the same old, same old - over-vibratoed vocal chords singing "My Yiddish Mama" and "By Mir Bist Du Shain" to the de rigueur grey-haired seniors who display more nostalgia for their Jewish upbringing now than they felt when they were living through it. Boy, was I in for a surprise! Yiddish Soul was an inclusive, international leap of faith, a mix of old and new designed to attract everyone and anyone from the religiously affiliated to the ethnically non-religious and hopefully their non-Jewish partners, particularly young families with children who seemed pleased enough with their Yiddishkeit - Jewish heritage - to dance in circles in the aisles. WFMU's Nachum Segal hosted, welcomed one and all and reminded anyone who could eat a little something that Mendy's Booth was sel ...
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Huffington Post article
Talkin' Jaco with Metallica's Robert Trujillo, Chatting with Denise Donatelli, Plus the Nolatet, Svetlana & The Delancey Five and Rolla Olak Exclusives
Huffington Post - about 1 year
A Conversation with Robert Trujillo Mike Ragogna: Robert, was your first big musical inspiration Jaco Pastorius? Robert Trujillo: Yeah. I'm always pulling and really feeding off of my inspirations, I think most musicians do. But I try to incorporate a lot of that influence in what I do. So Jaco was definitely a huge inspiration back in 1979 when I saw him for the first time. It really did change my life and set me on an interesting creative path. Definitely. MR: When did you first see him perform live? RT: I saw him with Weather Report. I had started hearing about him in the late seventies and then in 1979 they came through town. They were playing at the Santa Monica civic auditorium, that was our local concert venue at the time. The great thing about Santa Monica civic auditorium was it was a place you could ride your bike to. In this case my dad dropped me and my friends off and we'd go see Ronnie James Dio or Jean-Luc Ponty or Weather Report or the Pretenders. There wa ...
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Huffington Post article
White House leads BB King tributes
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
Legendary blues guitarist BB King has been remembered by a host of musicians and two US presidents after his death aged 89.
Article Link:
Yahoo News article
Bluesman BB King 'in home hospice care,' his website says - CNN
Google News - almost 2 years
CNN Bluesman BB King 'in home hospice care,' his website says CNN (CNN) Blues legend B.B. King is battling health problems, with a message on his website saying the 89-year-old musician is in "home hospice care." King was admitted to a Las Vegas hospital Thursday afternoon, CNN affiliate KLAS reported, because his ... BB King in hospice care at his Las Vegas homeReuters BB King in home hospice care, his website saysLos Angeles Times Blues Great B.B. King Tells Fans He's in Las Vegas HospiceNBC Bay Area all 246 news articles »
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Google News article
Todd Rundgren: I Saw the Light
Huffington Post - almost 2 years
"Hello, it's me." Todd Rundgren can never escape that greeting and song title. Nor would he want to, I imagine. It's a signature song for him, one that was transcendent for American radio. Between that 1973 "Midnight Special" performance and the show I covered a few months back at BB King's NYC, Rundgren has traveled a long, winding road well and with grace. His bands, Nazz and Utopia with his eponymous, "Todd Rundgren" band and solo career displayed his talents as a musician but were in my opinion overshadowed by his strong artistic ability as a producer of other musicians' records. Rundgren worked with Robbie Robertson and The Band (spending a lot of time in Woodstock), Janis Joplin (on what would be taken over by another producer ultimately, to become the album "Pearl"), Jesse Winchester, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, New York Dolls, The New Cars, Hall & Oates, Badfinger, Sparks, Rick Derringer, Grand Funk Railroad, James Cotton Blues Band, Patti Smith Group ...
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Huffington Post article
In search of one perfect bite at Chinatown's BBQ King House
Chicago Times - over 3 years
A few years ago, the Peking duck dinner at Chinatown's BBQ King House was the deal of the decade...     
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Chicago Times article
The Man Behind <i>The Voice</i>: Jermaine Paul -- Legend in the Making
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Music is the soundtrack to our life; it sparks our soul when we meet that special someone, initiates the first time you make love and fills the air during the first dance after shared vows. The voice behind the sound... well now, that's a whole other story. R&amp;B love songs consist of a few simple ingredients: A sensual melody, passionate lyrics and a voice to tie it all together. These three characteristics can form a lifetime of memories and will replay in our hearts for an eternity. When the NBC show The Voice auditioned singers for their 2nd season, I don't think they expected to discover the next living R&amp;B legend. Leaving the ultimate decision to fans across the country only solidified the glorious power that is in The Voice. Winner of the primetime competition, Jermaine Paul sets himself apart not only vocally but by his magnificent influence in his community and home. His voice demands your attention and draws you in but this man of many talents has a lot more to of ...
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Huffington Post article
The Band's Robbie Robertson Wants Your Kids To Listen To Better Music
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Is today's music making you wince while doing little to teach your offspring about good musical taste? Robbie Robertson to the rescue. The former Band member and successful solo artist and film composer/producer has put together a beautifully illustrated coffee table book to introduce kids to some of the greatest artists of all time. Alongside his manager Jim Guerinot, son Sebastian Robertson and A&amp;R man Jared Levine, the lifelong music fans co-wrote Legends, Icons &amp; Rebels: Music That Changed The World (Tundra Books), an easy-to-read history book that also includes two CDs. The 27 chosen ones — such as Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Carole King, Beach Boys and Bob Dylan — are each given four pages, complete with a mini bio (that doesn't whitewash their stories from drugs to plane crashes), a recommended playlist, a quote from another great, and brilliant portrait art. The book is actually as much for adults and the CDs contain ageless s ...
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Huffington Post article
Remember this OTR interview? BB King in Appleton, Wisconsin!
Fox News - over 3 years
We interviewed BB King in my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin.  I bought a bunch of tickets and invited my high school friends — many traveled from afar.  But are you ready for this?  BB King gave me a ‘shout out’ from the stage in my hometown….it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?  This was a THRILL! The post Remember this OTR interview? BB King in Appleton, Wisconsin! appeared first on Gretawire.
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Fox News article
Michael Pollack Is in a Music 'State of Mind'
Huffington Post - over 3 years
It was a January day and 19-year-old freshman Michael Pollack was sitting in the audience at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. On stage was music icon Billy Joel. Joel was doing a Question and Answer session. The Long Island, New York native (and big Joel fan) raised his hand and asked if he could play with the music icon. According to an interview with Inside Vandy, Pollack describes his intentions: "So I decided I was gonna go see Billy Joel right when we found out he was coming, and as a childhood idol of mine, right away I knew what I wanted to do when we went there. My roommate and I decided that we would try and find a way to get a question to be asked, and see if we could get on stage. And the day came, I put together a question, and I was raising my hand, and my friends to the right of me kept pointing to me, and finally after a few questions he picked on me and I hesitantly said how 'New York State of Mind' was my favorite song, and how I had performed it with his saxophoni ...
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Huffington Post article
Eddie Cota: Kat Dahlia Planning Debut Album Titled My Garden
Huffington Post - over 3 years
An artist to watch this year is Cuban-American Kat Dahila. The Miami raised 22-year-old released a single titled Gangsta, which caught everyone's attention and has her new fans wondering what's next. She made a stop in Los Angeles recently and we had a chance to discuss her moves in music. Her debut album titled My Garden is scheduled to drop sometime in September through Vested in Culture/Epic Records. She has been in the studio with some impressive beat makers like Timbaland and Salaam Remi and says the hardest part will be selecting from all the recorded music to make her first album. The inspiration behind her lead single Gangsta came when one of her producers gave her the track and she automatically thought of 50 Cent's hit rap song Wanksta. "There was no song that was telling me how I was feeling, so I made Gangsta, explained Dahlia. Now it's a female anthem." She also recorded a Spanish version of Gangsta, proving that she can make music in both langu ...
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Huffington Post article
Mark DeCarlo: SUMMER MUSIC: Buddy Guy can kick your Ass!
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Summer is the perfect time for travel, and what better way to spend some time in a new place than at an outdoor concert enjoying a living, snarling, joyful legend? Check out this video. DAMN RIGHT! Buddy Guy puts on a show you've got to feel to believe. On tour all summer, last time Buddy played Los Angeles' Greek Theater he miraculously avoided burning down all of Griffith Park. Not sure how it survived... because there were enough sparks for a whole summer's worth of music. This Guy, at an age when most guys are chasing punks off their lawn, put on a show, a clinic, then led a parade through a delirious crowd: I have seen Buddy live many times over the years, and will keep seeing as long as he keeps playing. No matter the weather (it was 90 this night) he sweats more than you do.  Sometimes he meanders through iconic blues chestnuts, others, he vamps on his impressions of OTHER great guitar players - the guys who showed Buddy the way. Rarely though, does h ...
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Huffington Post article
President Obama 'Sings' Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky'
Rolling Stone - over 3 years
President Obama has already shown off some musical chops singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" at a fundraiser and joining BB King for "Sweet Home Chicago" at the White House But now thanks to some clever editing we can see the commander-in-chief take on "Get Lucky" with robots-du-jour Daft Punk Obama...
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Rolling Stone article
AmongMen.com: 8 Must-See Canadian Summer Music Festivals
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
When summer finally hits in the Great White North, it blooms into a music festival paradise. From Osheaga in Montreal to NXNE in Toronto to the folk festivals out West, this land was made for music fans. Here are some of the key sites where you can catch a wealth of exciting musical acts from June until August: Fest: NXNE Where: Toronto When: June 10-16th Who: Big Boi, The National, Fucked Up, Calexico, Coeur de Pirate, FLAG, Millencolin, Supersuckers, and a ton more of eclectic, lesser known acts. Cost: A wristband for the entire fest is $60 +tax ( and a guarantee that you don't pay a cover for a show). A priority pass, which gets you a front-of-the-line priority, is $275, and $150 for students. The cost is $30 for a day wristband. NXNE has been a staple of the TO summertime for almost 20 years. The lineup features well-known acts and emerging artists about to hit it big. Past acts have included The Flaming Lips, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, De La Soul, Broken Social Sc ...
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Huffington Post article
Frank Schaeffer: A Tribute To My Evangelical Leader Mom-- Edith Schaeffer RIP
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
Edith Schaeffer 1914 - 2013 RIP My mother Edith Schaeffer died today. She was the author of many books on family life and spirituality and co-founder with my father Francis Schaeffer of the evangelical ministry of L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland. She has just gone to be with the Lord, as she would put it. She died at home which was her wish. I last talked to Mom yesterday. Rather she slept as I talked. A few days before my granddaughter Lucy was on my lap and we were talking to Mom via Skype. That day she was awake. Mom's face filled the screen and she was looking at us on the laptop placed on the covers of her bed. I last had been with her in person two years ago when I'd spent ten days with her. Before she was bedridden (about four months ago) we'd talk on the phone and after that we'd Skype. I've been talking to her every day for the last several weeks knowing she was slipping away. Since I care for my two youngest grandchildren, Lucy (4) and Jack (2) five days ...
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Huffington Post article
Suspected gunman manifesto: Politics, pop culture
Fox News - about 4 years
The rambling manifesto police say was written by suspected killer Christopher Dorner focuses mainly on his anger at the Los Angeles Police Department and those he felt wronged him. But it also shows a more human side, including musings about music, celebrities, politics and even the proper room temperature. Here are some samples, which are as originally written but in some cases edited for length: ___ "It's kind of sad I won't be around to view and enjoy The Hangover III. What an awesome trilogy. Todd Phillips, don't make anymore Hangovers after the third, takes away the originality of its foundation. World War Z looks good and The Walking Dead season 3 (second half) looked intriguing. Damn, gonna miss shark week." ___ "Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" is the greatest piece of music ever, period. Hanz Zimmer, William Bell, Eric Clapton, BB King, Bob Marley, Sam Cooke, Metallica, Rob Zombie, Nora Jones, Marvin Gaye, Jay-Z, and the Ki ...
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Fox News article
Ivanley Noisette: A Letter To Our Ancestors: Dear Fellow Citizens
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Dear Fellow Citizens: One hundred fifty years ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. As most serious Lincoln scholars agree, the crux of the former President's opposition to the cruel institution was its denial of a person's basic entitlement -- the fruits of his or her own labor, and the depravations of human dignity that resulted from this denial. Labor injustice was indeed a preeminent challenge facing American society during the 1800s. As Ira Berlin observes in his insightful book, The Making of African America: The Four Great Migrations, the involuntary migration of "Angolans, Igbos, Kongos, Minas, Mandes, and others" between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries, by the millions, to the shores of the Americas, transformed these men, women, and children "into Africans and, in time, African Americans." These forced departures were primarily motivated by the insatiable and manufactured demand for 'free' labor--the sweat equity needed t ...
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Huffington Post article
2012 best feature photos
Chicago Times - about 4 years
My favorite feature images this year come from a variety of assignments. I have some street photos, an old school fire hydrant weather photo, a pair of portraits (the powerhouse acting trio of Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin and the amazing photojournalist John H. White), a couple dog photos, two concert photo (BB King being greeted by George Clinton and some neighborhood kids peeking into the Pitchfork music festival), a military father and son reunion at an elementary school and two art pieces (Cloud Gate aka The Bean during the Luminous Field installation and Martin Creed's "Half the air in a given space" art installation at Chicago's Water Tower). Best news photos Best sports photos- December 28th Best photo stories- December 29th Best Chicago iPhone photos- December 30th Best out of town iPhone photos- December 31st
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Chicago Times article
Malerie Yolen-Cohen: 11 Ideal Inns For A Northeast College Tour
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Your kid's future alma mater isn't cookie-cutter, so why should your college tour accommodations be? Sure, you can stay in some boilerplate roadside franchise, but if you're used to traveling in style, really delving into the most welcoming aspects of these college towns, stay in these one-of-a-kind hotels, inns and B&amp;B's. Yale, New Haven, CT: Study at Yale A pair of mammoth brass eyeglasses sits at the entrance to this sleek New Haven, CT boutique hotel, a play on its academic influence, neighbor and namesake, Yale University. Street-level windows entice sidewalk amblers to peek into the sleek lobby-cum-study with its tidy hardwood floors, contemporary area rugs, leather and plush seating in blues, creams and grays and stacked geometric bookshelves brimming with art and architecture books. Digs: "Study-sleek" suites sport light woods, luxe bedding with "rumpled-look" duvet, heather teals and earth-browns with colorful pinstriped carpeting. Ergonomic chairs are tu ...
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Huffington Post article
Listen: The Favorite Songs of Patch Town Mayors
Cleveland Heights Patch - almost 5 years
Hey, mayors are people, too. While they're busy running an entire city, they get judged and ridiculed by the people in it, which is an occupational hazard, of course. But when they're off the clock, or running from meeting to meeting, they jam out to music, too, and we wanted to know what songs they're rockin' in their cars. Behold, the favorite songs of the mayors of our Patch towns. Are you surprised by any of these songs? Note: To listen to the playlist, you have to be a Spotify user. If you click play in the application above, it will launch your Spotify. If the playlist does not appear, try clicking play once your Spotify is open. "All Along the Watch Tower," Jimi Hendrix: Mayor William Roth, Fairlawn "Free Bird," Lynyrd Skynyrd: Mayor Katherine Procop, Twinsburg "Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen: Mayor Ed Kelley, Cleveland Heights "Can't Help Falling in Love," Elvis Presley: Mayor Don Robart, Cuyahoga Falls "God Bless America," by Kate Smith: Mayor Jerry ...
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Cleveland Heights Patch article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of B.B. King
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 89
    On May 30, 2015, King's funeral was held at the Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Indianola, Mississippi.
    More Details Hide Details He was buried at the B.B. King Museum. King is alleged to have fathered 15 children by 15 different women; and after his death, three more have come forward, claiming King as their father as well. Though neither of his marriages produced children, and biographer Charles Sawyer wrote that doctors found his sperm count too low to conceive children, King never disputed paternity of any of the 15 who claimed it, and by all accounts was generous in bankrolling college tuitions and establishing trust funds. In May 2016, the 11 surviving children initiated legal proceedings against King's appointed trustee over his estimated $30 million to $40 million estate. Several of them also went public with the allegation that King's business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, had fatally poisoned him. When autopsy results showed no evidence of poisoning, the suit was dismissed; a defamation suit filed by Johnson against the accusing family members (including his own sister, Karen Williams) is pending. Other children have filed lawsuits targeting King's music estate, which remains in dispute.
    On May 29, 2015, King's body was laid out, in a purple satin shirt and a floral tuxedo jacket, flanked by two black Gibson guitars, at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, in Indianola.
    More Details Hide Details Fans lined up to view his open casket.
    On May 27, 2015, King's body was flown to Memphis.
    More Details Hide Details The funeral procession led down Beale Street, with a brass band marching in front of the hearse, playing "When the Saints Go Marching In", as mourners called out "BB". Rodd Bland, son of the late blues singer Bobby "Blue" Bland, carried the latest iteration of King's famous guitar "Lucille." Thousands lined the streets to pay their last respects. His body was then driven down Route 61 to his hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.
    The Clark County coroner's office confirmed on May 25, 2015, that it was performing an autopsy on King's body and conducting a homicide investigation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, although CNN reported that initial indications did not support the notion of foul play.
    More Details Hide Details The autopsy revealed King's death was of complications of Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure, with no evidence of poisoning.
    He died in his sleep on May 14, 2015, at the age of 89.
    More Details Hide Details King's cause of death was determined to be multi-infarct dementia, brought on by a series of small strokes caused by atherosclerotic vascular disease as a consequence of type 2 diabetes. However, two of his daughters alleged that King was deliberately poisoned by two associates trying to induce diabetic shock.
    On May 1, 2015, after two hospitalizations caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, King announced on his website that he was in hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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    From the 1980s to his death in 2015, he maintained a highly visible and active career, appearing on numerous television shows and performing 300 nights a year.
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  • 2014
    Age 88
    After the cancellation of the remaining eight shows of his 2014 tour because of health problems, King announced on October 8, 2014, he was back at home to recuperate.
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    He appeared in a 2014 commercial for the Toyota Camry with his guitar Lucille.
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    On October 3, 2014, not feeling well enough, King had to stop his live performance at the House of Blues in Chicago, Illinois.
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  • 2013
    Age 87
    On May 26, 2013, King appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Festival.
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  • 2012
    Age 86
    On July 5, 2012, King performed a concert at the Byblos International Festival in Lebanon.
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    On February 21, 2012, King was among the performers of "In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues", during which President Barack Obama sang part of "Sweet Home Chicago".
    More Details Hide Details King recorded for the debut album of rapper and producer Big K.R.I.T., who also hails from Mississippi.
  • 2011
    Age 85
    Rolling Stone ranked King at No. 6 on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
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    In 2011, King played at the Glastonbury Music Festival, and in the Royal Albert Hall in London, where he recorded a concert video.
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  • 2010
    Age 84
    He also contributed to Cyndi Lauper's album Memphis Blues, which was released on June 22, 2010.
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    In June 2010, King performed at the Crossroads Guitar Festival with Robert Cray, Jimmie Vaughan, and Eric Clapton.
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    King performed at the Mawazine festival in Rabat, Morocco, on May 27, 2010.
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  • 2008
    Age 82
    Also in 2008, he was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.
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    In the summer of 2008, King played at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, where he was given a key to the city.
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  • 2007
    Age 81
    In 2007, King played at Eric Clapton's second Crossroads Guitar Festival and contributed the songs "Goin' Home", to Goin' Home: A Tribute to Fats Domino (with Ivan Neville's DumpstaPhunk) and "One Shoe Blues" to Sandra Boynton's children's album Blue Moo, accompanied by a pair of sock puppets in a music video for the song.
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  • 2006
    Age 80
    In late October 2006, King recorded a concert album and video entitled B.B. King: Live at his B.B. King Blues Clubs in Nashville and Memphis.
    More Details Hide Details The four-night production featured his regular B.B. King Blues Band and captured his show as he performed it nightly around the world. Released in 2008, it was his first live performance recording in over a decade.
    In June 2006, King was present at a memorial of his first radio broadcast at the Three Deuces Building in Greenwood, Mississippi, where an official marker of the Mississippi Blues Trail was erected.
    More Details Hide Details The same month, a groundbreaking was held for a new museum, dedicated to King, in Indianola, Mississippi. The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened on September 13, 2008.
    In 2006, King went on a "farewell" world tour, although he remained active afterward during the last years of his life.
    More Details Hide Details The tour was partly supported by Northern Irish guitarist Gary Moore, with whom King had previously toured and recorded, including the song "Since I Met You Baby". It started in the United Kingdom, and continued with performances in the Montreux Jazz Festival and in Zürich at the Blues at Sunset. During his show in Montreux at the Stravinski Hall he jammed with Joe Sample, Randy Crawford, David Sanborn, Gladys Knight, Leela James, Andre Beeka, Earl Thomas, Stanley Clarke, John McLaughlin, Barbara Hendricks and George Duke.
  • 2005
    Age 79
    In 2005, Gibson made a special run of 80 Gibson Lucilles, referred to as the "80th Birthday Lucille", the first prototype of which was given as a birthday gift to King, and which he used thereafter.
    More Details Hide Details King used a Lab Series L5 2×12" combo amplifier and had been using this amplifier for a long time. It was made by Norlin Industries for Gibson in the 1970s and 1980s. Other popular L5 users are Allan Holdsworth and Ty Tabor of King's X. The L5 has an onboard compressor, parametric equalization, and four inputs. King also used a Fender Twin Reverb. He used his signature model strings "Gibson SEG-BBS B.B. King Signature Electric Guitar Strings" with gauges: 10–13–17p–32w–45w–54w and D'Andrea 351 MD SHL CX (Medium .71mm, Tortoise Shell, Celluloid) Picks. In 1991, Beale Street developer John Elkington recruited B.B. King to Memphis to open the original B.B. King's Blues Club, and in 1994, a second club was launched at Universal Citywalk in Los Angeles. A third club in New York City's Times Square opened in June 2000. Two further clubs opened at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut in January 2002 and another in Nashville in 2003. Another club opened in Orlando in 2007. A club in West Palm Beach opened in the fall of 2009 and an additional one, based in the Mirage Hotel, Las Vegas, opened in the winter of 2009.
  • 2000
    Age 74
    In 2000, he and Clapton teamed up again to record Riding With the King, which won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album.
    More Details Hide Details Discussing where he took the Blues, from "dirt floor, smoke in the air" joints to grand concert halls, King said the Blues belonged everywhere beautiful music belonged. He successfully worked both sides of the commercial divide, with sophisticated recordings and "raw, raucous" live performance.
  • 1998
    Age 72
    In 1998, he appeared in The Blues Brothers 2000, playing the part of the lead singer of the Louisiana Gator Boys, along with Eric Clapton, Dr. John, Koko Taylor and Bo Diddley.
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  • 1997
    Age 71
    In December 1997, he performed in the Vatican's fifth annual Christmas concert and presented his trademark guitar "Lucille" to Pope John Paul II.
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  • 1988
    Age 62
    In 1988, King reached a new generation of fans with the single "When Love Comes to Town", a collaborative effort between King and the Irish band U2 on their Rattle and Hum album.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1980
    Age 54
    King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
    More Details Hide Details In 2004, he was awarded the international Polar Music Prize, given to artists "in recognition of exceptional achievements in the creation and advancement of music."
  • FORTIES
  • 1970
    Age 44
    He won a 1970 Grammy Award for the song "The Thrill Is Gone"; his version became a hit on both the pop and R&B charts.
    More Details Hide Details It also gained the number 183 spot in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
  • 1969
    Age 43
    King gained further visibility among rock audiences as an opening act on the Rolling Stones' 1969 American Tour.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1964
    Age 38
    In November 1964, King recorded the Live at the Regal album at the Regal Theater.
    More Details Hide Details King later said that Regal Live "is considered by some the best recording I've ever had... that particular day in Chicago everything came together..." From the late 1960s, new manager Sid Seidenberg pushed King into a different type of venue as blues-rock performers like Clapton and Paul Butterfield were popularizing an appreciation of blues music among white audiences.
  • 1962
    Age 36
    In 1962, King signed to ABC-Paramount Records, which was later absorbed into MCA Records, and which itself was later absorbed into Geffen Records.
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  • 1956
    Age 30
    This led to a significant increase in his weekly earnings, from about $85 to $2,500, with appearances at major venues such as the Howard Theater in Washington and the Apollo in New York, as well as touring the entire "Chitlin' circuit". 1956 became a record-breaking year, with 342 concerts booked and three recording sessions.
    More Details Hide Details That same year he founded his own record label, Blues Boys Kingdom, with headquarters at Beale Street in Memphis. There, among other projects, he produced artists such as Millard Lee and Levi Seabury.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1949
    Age 23
    Before his RPM contract, King had debuted on Bullet Records by issuing the single "Miss Martha King" (1949), which did not chart well. "My very first recordings 1949 were for a company out of Nashville called Bullet, the Bullet Record Transcription company," King recalled. "I had horns that very first session.
    More Details Hide Details I had Phineas Newborn on piano; his father played drums, and his brother, Calvin, played guitar with me. I had Tuff Green on bass, Ben Branch on tenor sax, his brother, Thomas Branch, on trumpet, and a lady trombone player. The Newborn family were the house band at the famous Plantation Inn in West Memphis." King assembled his own band; the B.B. King Review, under the leadership of Millard Lee. The band initially consisted of Calvin Owens and Kenneth Sands (trumpet), Lawrence Burdin (alto saxophone), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Floyd Newman (baritone saxophone), Millard Lee (piano), George Joyner (bass) and Earl Forest and Ted Curry (drums). Onzie Horne was a trained musician elicited as an arranger to assist King with his compositions. By his own admission, King could not play chords well and always relied on improvisation.
    In 1949, King began recording songs under contract with Los Angeles-based RPM Records.
    More Details Hide Details Many of King's early recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records.
  • 1948
    Age 22
    However, King returned to Mississippi shortly afterward, where he decided to prepare himself better for the next visit, and returned to West Memphis, Arkansas, two years later in 1948.
    More Details Hide Details He performed on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM in West Memphis, where he began to develop an audience. King's appearances led to steady engagements at the Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis and later to a ten-minute spot on the Memphis radio station WDIA. The radio spot became so popular that it was expanded and became the Sepia Swing Club. Initially he worked at WDIA as a singer and disc jockey, gaining the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy", which was later shortened to "Blues Boy" and finally to B.B. It was there that he first met T-Bone Walker. King said, "Once I'd heard him for the first time, I knew I'd have to have electric guitar myself. 'Had' to have one, short of stealing!"
  • 1946
    Age 20
    King was married twice, to Martha Lee Denton, 1946 to 1952, and to Sue Carol Hall, 1958 to 1966.
    More Details Hide Details The failure of both marriages has been attributed to the heavy demands made on the marriage by King's 250 performances a year. It is reported that he fathered 15 children with several different women. He lived with diabetes for over 20 years and was a high-profile spokesman in the fight against the disease, appearing in advertisements for diabetes-management products along with American Idol season nine contestant Crystal Bowersox. King was an FAA certified private pilot and learned to fly in 1963 at what was then Chicago Hammond Airport in Lansing, Illinois. He frequently flew to gigs but in 1995 his insurance company and manager asked him to fly only with another certified pilot. As a result, he stopped flying around the age of 70. King was a Christian. King's favorite singer was Frank Sinatra. In his autobiography he spoke about how he was a "Sinatra nut" and how he went to bed every night listening to Sinatra's classic album In the Wee Small Hours. During the 1960s Sinatra had arranged for King to play at the main clubs in Las Vegas. He credited Sinatra for opening doors to black entertainers who were not given the chance to play in "white-dominated" venues.
    In 1946, King followed Bukka White to Memphis, Tennessee.
    More Details Hide Details White took him in for the next ten months.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1943
    Age 17
    In 1943, King left Kilmichael to work as a tractor driver and play guitar with the Famous St. John's Quartet of Inverness, Mississippi, performing at area churches and on WGRM in Greenwood, Mississippi.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1941
    Age 15
    In November 1941 "King Biscuit Time" first aired, broadcasting on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas.
    More Details Hide Details It was a radio show featuring the Mississippi Delta blues. King listened to it while on break at a plantation. A self-taught guitarist, he then wanted to become a radio musician.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1925
    Born
    Riley B. King was born on September 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation called Berclair, near the town of Itta Bena, Mississippi, the son of sharecroppers Albert and Nora Ella King.
    More Details Hide Details He considered the nearby city of Indianola, Mississippi to be his home. When Riley was four years old, his mother left his father for another man, so the boy was raised by his maternal grandmother, Elnora Farr, in Kilmichael, Mississippi. While young, King sang in the gospel choir at Elkhorn Baptist Church in Kilmichael. King was attracted to the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ because of its music. The local minister led worship with a Sears Roebuck Silvertone guitar. The minister taught King his first three chords. It seems that at the age of 12 he purchased his first guitar for $15.00, although another source indicates he was given his first guitar by Bukka White, his mother's first cousin (King's grandmother and White's mother were sisters).
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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