R.I.P. Bobby “Blue” Bland

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Modern blues singer Bobby “Blue” Bland died yesterday at age 83 of complications from a long illness at his home in Memphis, Tennessee. Bland emerged in the ’50’s and made many recordings but his first impact was the chart-winning “Farther Up The Road” in 1957. He is credited with taking blues into a contemporary direction with peers Ray Charles and Sam Cooke who also incorporated gospel and soul into the blues. “I Pity The Fool,” “That’s The Way Love Is “ and “Turn On Your Love Light” were some of the singles that established him as the “Sinatra Of The Blues” throughout the ’50’s and ’60’s. Mr. Bland’s catalog has been covered by The Band, Whitesnake, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, The Grateful Dead and David Bowie. Kanye West sampled his 1974 single “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” for Jay-Z’s Blueprint album. In 1981 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and in 1992 he was accepted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Last year the Memphis Music Hall Of Fame made him their 25th inductee.