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B.B. King

B.B. KING (1925 - 2015)

On May 14, 2015, the legendary bluesman BB King passed away. It's a sad reminder that the original blues masters are moving quietly towards extinction. He should be buried with the guitar he affectionately name Lucille for the guitar is a legend unto itself. BB King's story is really the story of the blues to almost the point of cliche.

He was born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi in 1925. His first guitar was a gift from a cousin and future blues great himself, Bukka White. He made his first trip north to Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940s where he first saw Beale Street and performed on a radio show hosted by Sonny Boy Williamson. He soon befriended T-Bone Walker. In the 1950s he was ripping up the Rhythm & Blues charts and would soon become a mainstay on the blacks only chitlin' circuit while the United States still remained segregated. He would record his masterpiece in 1964, Live at the Regal in Chicago that would influence a generation of white blues fanatics in England and the US alike and touch off a revolution profoundly influencing people like Eric Clapton and Paul Butterfield.

BB King lived to see great rewards in his lifetime which isn't the case in many stories concerning many of his contemporaries. He recieved the Presidential Medal of Freedom, opened a successful chain of club-restaurants and became the recipient of several high profile endorsement deals. He was also a spokesperson for diabetes with which he battled for most of his later life. In 1972, filmmaker David Hoffman, captured BB King performing at the notorious Sing Sing prison in New York.

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