Remembering Blues Legend – B.B. King Dies at 89

kim kardashian

The legendary B.B. King has died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas. King told fans at the beginning of May that he had been living in hospice care. King has been called one of the best guitarists of all time. The amount of awards and how much recognition he has received is astounding. USA Today lists that King has received,

“15 Grammy Awards (not counting a Lifetime Achievement nod in 1987); inductions into the Rock and Roll and Blues Foundation halls of fame; a Kennedy Center Honor; Presidential Medal of the Arts; President Medal of Freedom; the international Polar Music Prize; and honorary doctorates from Yale and Brown.”

King was born as Riley B. King in Mississippi in 1925, and he picked up the guitar after seeing his pastor play. King taught himself how to play when he was still fairly young, and no one knew how amazing he would get at playing the guitar. Though he didn’t become a musician right away. King was first a disc jockey in Memphis, Tennessee, and that was when he first received his nickname. King started recording his own music in 1949 and three years later was his first hit.

King and his Lucille, the name for all of his guitars, have played 15,000 shows during his time touring. He was able to bring the Blues into mainstream music in America. King had a career that lasted for seven decades. King has influenced some of the greats like Carlos Santana, and Eric Clapton, but there is only one B.B. King. For as legendary as King was he has always remained humble and gracious. King has said in the book “Treasures,”

“Each night I do a concert or do a show it’s like an audition, ’cause I remember the days when it was. If you played a night and somebody came in the next night and played better than you, you didn’t come back. So I still have that mentality … that if these people didn’t like me, what would I be doing? Probably plowing.”

Thankfully, people loved him. His ability to connect with the audience through the music is what makes him legendary. The Blues, oddly enough, made people happy. And for that B.B. King will forever be remembered as one of the greatest musicians of all time.

On Sunday May 17th, the Billboard Music Awards also expressed their condolences through a short tribute expressing his work and music will forever be cherished.

Photo: Jym Wilson

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