R.I.P. B.B.King

Last night B.B.King died in his sleep at the age of 89. King was to the blues world what Miles Davis was to jazz because he brought his genre to the mainstream more than any other artist. His influence as a guitarist, endless touring schedule and longevity earned him the title King Of The Blues. Before he had a successful recording career he was a popular DJ in Memphis on WDIA and it was there that he transformed from Riley King to B.B. King which was short for the nickname Blues Boy. In the ’50’s and ’60’s he charted as an R&B star with several hits including “Everyday I Have The Blues” and “Sweet Angel.” He won his first Grammy in 1970 for his famous version of “The Thrill Is Gone.” By the ’80’s he had appeared in the movie Rattle And Hum with U2 and made guest appearances on The Cosby Show, Married…With Children and The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. In 1996 his autobiography, Blues All Around Me with David Ritz was released. King received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995 and the Presidential Medal Of Freedom in 2006. His most recent appearance at the White House was for a blues concert hosted by President Barack Obama in 2010 and the president joined King in a performance of “Sweet Home Chicago.” Despite his achievements he continued to tour up until 2014 doing shows at Glastonbury in 2011 and the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 2013. One Kind Favor from 2009 is King’s last studio album and it won the Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album giving him his 15th win.