Although he was and is all of the things your about to read. He also openly admitted there were other guitar players that he called shredders and he wasn’t one of them. He embraced who he was as a musician and that is what you should do as a creator!
He personified the traveling ‘bluesman,’ and was widely regarded as one of the genre’s most renowned and innovative artists. During a career that extended over 60 years and over 15,000 concerts, he averaged 250 appearances per year and put on incredible performances. He continued to meet his audience despite his elderly age and diabetes, which he had been battling since 1990.
Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on September 16, 1925. He made more than 50 albums between the 1940s and the end of his life, many of them masterpieces like Live at the Regal (1964), which impacted an entire generation of guitarists and is now regarded as one of the best blues recordings of all time.
He established a distinct guitar style that blended classic blues, jazz, swing, and pop into one of the most recognizable in the world, serving as a model for tens of thousands of guitarists. From Eric Clapton to Keith Richards, to Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, and Jeff Beck, the list goes on and on.
He was prohibited from singing the blues as a child. The majority of black communities in Southeastern America believed the blues was “the music of the devil” in the 1930s and 1940s. Riley was obediently singing gospel since he didn’t wanted to be disrespectful to his parents.
In an interview with Larry Widen for the book Tombstone Blues, he described how he used to labor for a dollar a day picking cotton. His family was impoverished and lacked a home of their own. He stopped forced work after finding that he could make more than $60 a night playing guitar. He was already a stutterer at the time, and he still stutters now and then. When he sang, though, he never had that problem.
B.B. King was undeniably the great preacher of jazz; with his incredible ability to transcend borders, he brought the blues to the entire world with a message that set him apart from the genre’s cliches. His music, as melodious as any in the blues, spoke of abandonment, grief, and loss, but in an environment of optimism; an artist who performed 300 nights a year for much of his career. A tireless stage runner with an unrivaled level of quality and dedication.
He established a light, snappy swinging blues style as well as a style of emotional vocal phrasing with controlled drama. On the guitar, he was influenced by T-Bone Walker, and his vocal style was similar to Joe Turner’s. His flawless solos stand out in the fast themes, and his voice wrecked havoc on the audience in the ballads.
On the guitar, B.B. established his own language, and his sound had a distinct personality. More than his words are expressed by his deep vibrato. Without a doubt, Blues Boy exemplifies the breadth of current blues like no other. He overcame the rhythmic limits that blues imposes on the guitar in order to raise it to a lyrical level.
On May 14, 2015, he passed away as a result of a succession of minor strokes caused by his diabetes. He had to cancel gigs a year prior due to health issues, and his last performance was on October 3, 2014 at the House Of Blues in Chicago.