BB King's name is self-explanatory. The American singer became famous as a blues legend. He was also called king by fans of the songs he wrote. With his unique playing style and amazing sense of music, the blues guitarist has left a legacy that is recognized as a classic of the genre.
Riley Benjamin King played hundreds of concerts throughout the year. The musician remained on stage until his last days, remaining an unsurpassed bluesman to this day.
The biography of the future celebrity began in 1925. The baby was born on September 16 near the town of Itta Ben. The boy spent his childhood on a cotton plantation. He was raised by his mother and grandmother. Riley was fond of music. In his spare time, he played the guitar and performed gospel songs at the local church.
Growing up, King became a tenant farmer. He did not think about musical creativity as a profession. In 1943, the guy started working as a tractor driver, but did not stop playing the guitar. Gradually it became clear that playing in a group that included a worker gave much more pleasure and income. In May 1946, King went to Memphis.
The cousin took over to patronize the cousin. He taught the guy the basics of blues art. Having decided to make musical creativity his profession, he returned home all the time. In the Sonny Boy Williamson II program, a few months later, the already more prepared for the future newcomer managed to perform on "KWEM Radio". A successful debut attracted the attention of professionals to the guy. Riley was invited as a performer and DJ.
Then the nickname that became famous appeared. The newcomer was initially called Bill Street Blues Boy or Beale Street Blues Boy. The too long name was replaced by a shorter version of "Blues Boy" and, finally, the legendary BB appeared. The debut composition "Miss Martha King" appeared in 1949. The critics responded negatively about the novelty, but the management of "Modern Records" liked the composition.
The contractor received an offer of long-term cooperation. After signing the contract, 6 singles were released. They did not bring King instant popularity throughout the country. At the end of 1951, the 7th single "Three O'Clock Blues" was released. It proved to be successful, making it to the Billboard list, where it topped the charts. The performer has grown into a nationwide favorite.
A year and a half after the premiere, the first tour took place.
By the early sixties, interest in the blues began to wane. Rock and roll appeared. He attracted a lot of attention from the audience. The result was the failure of King's concerts in 1968. However, the compositions created in this period remain one of the strongest in the musician's work. These singles include the song "Sweet Sixteen", recognized as a classic of the genre.
The revival of interest in the blues coincided with the mid-sixth decade of the 20th century. King wrote the hit "The Thrill Is Gone". The concerts began again. In 1969, the bluesman was offered a television appearance on the Tonight Show.
In 1971 he became a guest on the most popular show "The Ed Sullivan Show". Together with many acclaimed blues masters, King performed at the end of June 1973 at a concert at the New York Philharmonic.
The song "The Thrill Is Gone" became the rarest event. From 1951 to 1985, she made over seventy hits on the Billboard charts. The musician's demand did not diminish. However, closer to the end of the century, the king of the dish was recorded less and less.
BB spent most of his time on tour. He performed up to 300 times a year, sometimes more. In 1988 the single "When Love Comes To Town" was recorded with the group "U2", with Eric Clapton in 2000 the album "Riding With The King" appeared.
The University of Mississippi awarded him a doctorate in 2004 for King's enormous contributions to music. Received the musician and the prestigious Polar Music Prize.
A couple of years later, the King of the Blues announced the start of a farewell tour. King held concerts with Gary Moore, who had previously performed with the musician. The bluesman's creative activity did not diminish after the tour was over.
At the White House, King performed on February 21, 2012 as part of the concert "In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues".
Performances continued after this event. The remaining concerts were canceled due to the deteriorating health of the musician on October 3, 2014. The King of the Blues passed away in 1015, on May 13. For all the time, the performer has made several attempts to establish a personal life.
His first chosen one was Martha Denton in 1946. The union with her broke up due to the excessively busy schedule of her husband's performances in 1952. Carol Hall became King's wife in 1958. But this attempt was also unsuccessful. The couple broke up in 1966 for the same reason.
Family and vocation
Of the musician's many children, the successor to his work, Shirley King, became the most famous. She became famous as an electric blues singer and songwriter. She called the collection, recorded for her fiftieth birthday, "Daughter of the Blues".
The musician himself admitted that the only woman who always stayed with him was Lucille. So he called his guitar. King's instrument appeared in the fifties. He saved the guitar from a fire that began at one of the concerts.
The tool got its name from the culprit of the collision that caused the incident. After the guitar disappeared, the musician, after a vain search, acquired a new one, but in the future everyone received the same name.
King possessed considerable ability and was fond of not only music. He held a license to fly the plane.
The performer led a healthy lifestyle, adhering to vegetarianism. In addition, the bluesman participated in the diabetes research movement.