B. B. King

Riley B. King, better known as B. B. King (born September 16, 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi), is an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, widely considered one of the best and most respected blues musicians of all time. One of his trademarks is "Lucille", the name he has given to his guitars since the 1950s.

In 1947, B.B King began recording songs under contract with Los Angeles based RPM Records. Many of King's early recordings were produced by Sam Phillips, who later founded Sun Records. King was also a disc jockey in Memphis, where he gained the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy", later shortened to B.B.

In the 1950s, B.B King became one of the most important names in R&B music, collecting an impressive list of hits under his belt that included songs like "You Know I Love You," "Woke Up This Morning," "Please Love Me," "When My Heart Beats like a Hammer," "Whole Lotta Love," "You Upset Me Baby," "Every Day I Have the Blues," "Sneakin' Around," "Ten Long Years," "Bad Luck," "Sweet Little Angel," "On My Word of Honor," and "Please Accept My Love". In 1962, King signed to ABC-Paramount Records.

In November 1964, King recorded the legendary Live at the Regal album at the Regal Theater in Chicago, Illinois.

King first found success outside of the blues market with the 1969 remake of the Roy Hawkins tune, "The Thrill Is Gone", which became a hit on both pop and R&B charts, which was rare for an R&B artist. It also gained the number 193 spot in the Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs Of All Time. He gained further rock visibility as an opening act on The Rolling Stones much-ballyhooed 1969 American Tour. King's mainstream success continued throughout the 1970s with songs like "To Know You Is to Love You" and "I Like to Live the Love." From 1951 to 1985, King appeared on Billboard's R&B charts an amazing 74 times.

The 1980s, 1990s and 2000s saw King recording less and less, but maintaining a highly visible and active career appearing on numerous television shows, major motion BOB performing 300 nights a year. In 1988, he reached a new generation of fans via the single "When Love Comes To Town", together with the Irish band U2 on their Rattle and Hum album. In 2000, King teamed up with guitarist Eric Clapton to record Riding With the King.

In 2003, King shared the stage with the rock band Phish in New Jersey, performing three of his classics and jamming with the band for over 30 minutes.

In June 2006, King was present at a memorialization of his first radio broadcast at the Three Deuces Building in Greenwood, Mississippi, where an official marker of the Mississippi Blues Trail was erected.

B.B. King also made an appearance at the Crossroads Guitar Festival put on by Eric Clapton. On the DVD he plays "Rock Me Baby" with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and Jimmie Vaughan.

Over the years more than 100 B.B. King concerts have been broadcast, at least partly, on radio and TV in many countries.

In June 2006, a groundbreaking was held for a new B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi. The museum is scheduled to open May 1, 2008.

Aged 80 at the time, on March 29 2006, King played at the Sheffield's Hallam Arena. This was the first date of his UK and European farewell tour. He played this tour supported by ex-shredder/rocker turned bluesman Gary Moore, with whom King has previously toured and recorded, including the song "Since I Met You Baby". This tour ended on the April 4 with a final concert at Wembley Arena.

In July, B.B. went back to Europe and at that time he said farewell to Switzerland, playing twice (July 2nd and 3rd) in the 40th edition of the world famous Montreux Jazz Festival and also in Zürich at the Blues at Sunset on July 14th. On his last show in Montreux at the Stravinski Hall he jammed with Joe Sample, Randy Crawford, David Sanborn, Gladys Knight, Lella James, Earl Thomas, Stanley Clarke, John McLaughlin, Barbara Hendrix and George Duke.

During a press conference on November 29th in São Paulo, a journalist asked King if that would be the actual farewell tour. He answered: "One of my favorite actors is a man from Scotland named Sean Connery. Most of you know him as James Bond, 007. He made a movie called "Never Say Never Again".

B.B. King has been a licensed pilot, a known gambler and is also a vegetarian, non-drinker and non-smoker. King has lived with diabetes for over ten years and has been a visible spokesman in the fight against diabetes, appearing in advertisements for diabetes-management products

On January 26, 2007, while on tour, King was hospitalized in Galveston, Texas due to a low grade (100.4) fever after a recent bout with influenza. He was released on January 27, after an overnight stay. He was scheduled to resume his tour, with his next performance on January 30.

Mr. King is a proponent of music education for children. In 2002, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and free lessons to children in public schools throughout the U.S.A. He sits on the organization's board of directors as an honorary member.
* According to a 2003 listing in Rolling Stone magazine, King is the greatest living guitarist, and ranked 3rd among the "100 greatest guitarists of all time" (behind late Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman).

* He is mentioned in the Beatles' song "Dig It".

* His favorite singer is Frank Sinatra. In his biography King speaks about how he was, and is, a "Sinatra nut" and how he went to bed every night listening to Sinatra's classic album In the Wee Small Hours. King has credited Sinatra for opening doors to black entertainers who weren't given the chance to play in "white" dominated venues. Sinatra got BB King into the main showrooms in Vegas during the 1960s.

* He has made guest appearances in numerous popular television shows, including "The Cosby Show," "The Young and the Restless," "General Hospital[citation needed]," "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Sesame Street[citation needed]," "Married With Children[5]" and "Sanford and Son."

* King has used other guitars besides the incarnations of "Lucille", such as a Fender Telecaster, Gibson ES-330, Gibson ES-335, Gibson ES-345, Gibson ES-5, and Gibson ES-175.

* Each year, during the first week in June, a B.B. King homecoming festival is held in Indianola, Mississippi.

* It is reported that King had sex before age 10, and went on to father seventeen children, to several different mothers.

Selected singles

* "Miss Martha King" (1949, Bullet)
* "Got the Blues" (1949)
* "Mistreated Woman" (1950, RPM)
* "The Other Night Blues" (1950)
* "I Am" (1950)
* "My Baby's Gone" (1950)
* "B.B. Blues" (1951)
* "She's a Mean Woman" (1951)
* "Three O'Clock Blues" (1951)
* "Fine-Looking Woman" (1952)
* "Shake It Up and Go" (1952)
* "Someday, Somewhere" (1952)
* "You Didn't Want Me" (1952)
* "Story from My Heart and Soul" (1952)
* "Woke Up This Morning With A Bellyache" (1953)
* "Please Love Me" (1953)
* "Neighborhood Affair" (1953)
* "Why Did You Leave Me" (1953)
* "Praying to the Lord" (1953)
* "Love Me Baby" (1954)
* "Everything I Do Is Wrong" (1954)
* "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer" (1954)
* "You Upset Me Baby" (1954)
* "Sneaking Around" (1955) R&B: #14
* "Every Day I Have the Blues" (1955) R&B: #8 1
* "Ten Long Years" (1955) R&B: #9 2
* "I'm Cracking Up Over You" (1956)
* "Crying Won't Help You" (1956) R&B: #15
* "Did You Ever Love a Woman?" (1956)
* "Dark Is the Night, Pts. I & II" (1956)
* "Sweet Little Angel" (1956) R&B: #6
* "Bad Luck" (1956) R&B: #3 3
* "On My Word of Honor" (1956) R&B: #3
* "Early in the Morning" (1957)
* "How Do I Love You" (1957)
* "I Want to Get Married" (1957) R&B: #14
* "Twoubles, Twoubles, Twoubles" (1957) R&B: #13 4
* "(I'm Gonna) Quit My Baby" (1957)
* "Be Careful with a Fool" (1957) Pop: #95 5
* "The Keyblade to My Kingdom" (1957)
* "Why Do Everything Happen to Me" (1958, Kent)
* "Don't Look Now, But You Got the Blues" (1958)
* "Please Accept My Love" (1958) R&B: #9
* "You've Been an Angel" (1958) R&B: #16 6
* "The Fool" (1958)
* "A Lonely Lover's Plea" (1959)
* "Time to Say Goodbye" (1959)
* "Sugar Mama" (1959)
* "Sweet Sixteen, Pt. I" (1960) R&B: #2
* "Peace of Mind" (1961) R&B: #7 7
* "How Blue Can You Get" (1964, ABC) Pop: #97 8
* "Help the Poor" (1964, ABC) Pop: #98 8
* "The Worst Thing in My Life" (1964, Kent)
* "Rock Me Baby" (1964) Pop: #34 8
* "Never Trust a Woman" (1964) Pop: #90 8
* "Don't Answer the Door, Pt. I" (1966, ABC) R&B: #2 Pop: #72
* "I Say in the Mood" (1966, Kent) R&B: #45
* "Paying the Cost to Be the Boss" (1968, Bluesway) R&B: #10 Pop: #39
* "I'm Gonna Do What They Do to Me" (1968) R&B: #26 Pop: #74
* "The B. B. Jones" (1968) Pop: #98
* "You Put It on Me" (1968) R&B: #25 Pop: #82 9
* "The Woman I Love" (1968) R&B: #31 Pop: #94
* "Get Off My Back Woman" (1969) R&B: #32 Pop: #74 10
* "Why I Sing the Blues" (1969) R&B: #13 Pop: #61
* "Just a Little Love" (1969) R&B: #15 Pop: #76
* "I Want You So Bad" (1969) R&B: #34
* "The Thrill Is Gone" (1970) R&B: #3 Pop: #15
* "So Excited" (1970) R&B: #14 Pop: #54
* "Hummingbird" (1970) R&B: #25 Pop: #48
* "Worried Life" (1970) R&B: #48
* "Ask Me No Questions" (1970, ABC) R&B: #18 Pop: #40
* "Chains and Things" (1970) R&B: #6 Pop: #45
* "Help the Poor" (1971, re-recording) R&B: #36 Pop: #90
* "Ghetto Woman" (1971) R&B: #18 Pop: #40
* "The Evil Child" (1971) R&B: #34 Pop: #97
* "Sweet Sixteen" (1972, re-recording) R&B: #37 Pop: #93
* "I Got Some Help I Don't Need" (1972) R&B: #28 Pop: #92
* "Ain't Nobody Home" (1972) R&B: #28 Pop: #46
* "Guess Who" (1972) R&B: #21 Pop: #62
* "To Know You Is to Love You" (1973) R&B: #12 Pop: #38
* "I Like to Live the Love" (1974) R&B: #6 Pop: #28
* "Who Are You" (1974) R&B: #27 Pop: #78
* "Philadelphia" (1974) R&B: #19 Pop: #64
* "Friends" (1975) R&B: #34 11
* "Let the Good Times Roll" (1976) R&B: #20
* "Slow and Easy" (1977) R&B: #88
* "Never Make a Move Too Soon" (1978) R&B: #19
* "I Just Can't Leave Your Love Alone" (1978) R&B: #90
* "Better Not Look Down" (1979) R&B: #30
* "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere" (1981) R&B: #91
* "Into the Night" (1985) R&B: #15
* "Big Boss Man" (1985) R&B: #62
* "When Love Comes to Town" (1988, with U2) Rock: #2 Pop: #68 12
* "The Blues Come Over Me" (1992) R&B: #63
* "Riding with the King" (2000, with Eric Clapton) Rock: #26


1. The Electric B.B. King - His Best (1960)
2. Great Moments with B.B. King (1981)
3. The King of the Blues: 1989 (1988)
4. Got My Mojo Working (1989)
5. King of the Blues (Box Set, 1992)
6. Why I Sing the Blues (1992)
7. Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: B.B. King; (2003)
8. Ultimate Collection (2005)

* King was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1990.
* In 2004, he was awarded an honorary Ph.D from the University of Mississippi and the Royal Swedish Academy of Music awarded him the Polar Music Prize, for his "significant contributions to the blues".
* On December 15, 2006, President George W. Bush awarded King the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
* Grammy Awards - King was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987. He won the Grammy award for Best Traditional Blues Album nine times, in 2006 (for B.B. King & Friends: 80), 2003 (for A Christmas Celebration of Hope), 2001 (for Riding with the King), 2000 (for Blues on the Bayou), 1994 (for Blues Summit), 1992 (for Live at the Apollo), 1991 (for Live at San Quentin), 1986 (for My Guitar Sings the Blues) and 1984 (for Blues 'N' Jazz). In 1982, he won the Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording (for There Must Be a Better World Somewhere). The Grammy for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk was last given in 1986; the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album was first given in 1983. In 1997, he won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance (with other artists, for "SRV Shuffle"). In 1971, he won the Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance (for "The Thrill is Gone"). A Grammy Hall of Fame Award was given to "The Thrill is Gone" in 1998, an award given to recordings that are at least 25 years old and that have "qualitative or historical significance."
* King was awarded the "Kennedy Center Honors" in 1995. This is given to recognize "the lifelong accomplishments and extraordinary talents of our Nation's most prestigious artists."Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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