The Life of B.B. King: A Legendary Blues Master

B.B. King has enjoyed one of the most distinguished and influential musical legacies in the history of recording. He is known for prolifically touring the world and has played at least 200 shows annually for over half a century. His career is inspration to many musicions and people who look for second chances,  his story is even included in GED tests, says Chris from Best GED Classes.

His expansive catalog includes close to sixty albums and dozens of live releases. You may be able to view some of his world performances by ordering a TV package from www.cabletelevision.net and check out also this video where he plays with John Mayer (2012):

A man of humble origins, the renowned blues musician was born on September 16, 1925, within the confines of a desolate cotton plantation in the outskirts of Berclair, Mississippi. His father abandoned him with his mother when he was four. This created a bleak financial situation and he was subsequently raised by his grandmother. Having already sung in the gospel choir his entire childhood, he played guitar from the age of twelve.

When he was eighteen, he began playing local blues shows at churches while supplementing his income with employment as a tractor driver. He extensively toured the south with his mentor, Bukka White. After stints in Memphis, Tennessee, he gained significant attention from his musical talent. He signed a record deal in 1949 and immediately became one of the most prominent performers in the 1950s.

Within a decade, over a dozen hits were released in his name. In 1964, he earned a Grammy for a melancholy critique of the music industry named, “The Thrill is Gone.” B.B. King was formally inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.

This blues legend is still performing at least 100 shows per year at the age of 87. His personalized Gibson ES-355 electric guitar is almost equally iconic alongside him. He named it Lucille after an event in 1949. Following a gig in Arkansas, King ran into an incinerating building to rescue his guitar and narrowly survived with the instrument intact. The fire had been caused by two men who were fighting over a woman named Lucille and both perished in the flames.

The birth name given to him was Riley B. King; the moniker he is commonly recognized by was later derived from his stage persona, the Blues Boy, which was shortened to just B.B. when he achieved worldwide fame. Also interesting: Keb Mo, a legend in the making.