B.B. King's enormous impact on the blues genre changed the history of American music. His impact was far-reaching, transforming the blues from a uniquely American musical tradition into an international language of expression. The "King of the Blues" left behind an enduring legacy, and his music is still influential today.
The American blues musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer Riley B. King, better known as B.B. King, passed away on May 16 at the age of 89. The "King of the Blues," as he was affectionately dubbed, was instrumental in bringing blues out of obscurity and into the public. Because of his refined sound and fiery live shows, King was a major force in expanding the blues' audience around the world.
Born on a cotton plantation outside the hamlet of Itta Bena, Mississippi, in 1925, King's rise to fame had humble beginnings. Gospel music heard in church piqued his early interest in music, and blues greats like T-Bone Walker and Django Reinhardt shaped his guitar approach. In 1946, King relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, where he launched his singing career.
B.B. King's innovative and influential performance approach was defined by his ability to portray a wide spectrum of feelings through his guitar, lovingly dubbed "Lucille." He revolutionized blues and rock guitar with his creative use of string bending and vibrato.
Many different writers and generations have been influenced by King. Many famous musicians have acknowledged his impact on their work, including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Mayer. His music was universal, and his work with artists from other genres helped increase the blues' audience.
King received many honors and awards for his musical achievements during his lifetime. In the same year that he earned the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 1987, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In addition, he won 15 Grammys, including one for his hit single "The Thrill Is Gone."
B.B. King died in 2015, but his musical legacy will go on forever. He had a pivotal part in popularizing the blues with his energetic and emotionally charged concerts, groundbreaking guitar technique, and nonstop touring. His contributions have had far-reaching effects in the field of music.