B.B. King

(Riley B. King)
legendary blues musician
Born: 9/16/1925
Birthplace: Indianola, Miss.

One of the most influential guitarists of all time, King remains an icon and a model for Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Buddy Guy, and many other contemporary rock musicians. King first learned guitar in the 1940s from his cousin, Bukka White, and found inspiration in the works of celebrated jazz and blues musicians T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt.

King earned his nickname in the 1950s as a disc jockey at Memphis' black station, WDIA, where he was known as "Beale Street Blues Boy." The moniker was shortened to "Blues Boy" and then "B.B."

King recorded his first song in 1949, and first topped the R&B chart with "Three O'Clock Blues" in 1951. His Live at the Regal (1962) is widely considered a definitive blues album, and he won over mainstream pop audiences with the hit single, "The Thrill Is Gone" (1969). A prolific performer, King has toured worldwide, making stops in Russia and South America. In 1989 he collaborated with U2 on "When Love Comes to Town."

King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. His other recordings include Together for the First Time (1974), on which he teamed up with Bobby Bland, Live and Well (1969), and the Grammy Award-winning There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (1981).

See also: