The world is singing the blues this morning as we mourn the death of the “King of Blues“, B.B. King. Reportedly, the 15 Grammy Award winner had diabetes and his health was declining over the past year. He died late Thursday night in Las Vegas according to his attorney. He died at the age of 89. B.B. King was known for his unique playing style and husky, full-throat vocals.. Let’s take a look back at his life.
Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation on September 6, 1925 to sharecroppers, Albert and Nora Ella King.
His parents separate and he is raised by his maternal grandmother.
B.B. King gets married to Martha.
B.B. King moves to Memphis and starts working at a factory, where his cousin, bluesman Bukka White works.
B.B. King performs on Sonny Boy Williamson’s show on radio station KWEM. He then ends up landing a steady gig at Sixteenth Avenue Grill in West Memphis.
B.B. King records for the first time, cutting four songs including his debut single, Miss Martha King.
On a trip to Memphis, record man Jules Bihari signs B.B. King who records for Bihari brothers’ RPM, Kent and Crown labels over the next decade.
B.B. King records 3 O’Clock Blues.
3 O’Clock Blues becomes number one on the Billboard R&B hit parade.
B.B. King wins his first Grammy award in the category of Best Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, Male for his song, The Thrill Is Gone.
B.B. King is inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
February 15 is declared B.B. King Day in the state of Mississippi.
B.B. King starts his farewell tour on March 29, 2006 in the United Kingdom.
He is also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George Bush on December 15.
Wins his last Grammy in the category of Best Traditional Blues Album for One Kind Favor.
B.B. King played at Fabulous Fox Theater in Atlanta Georgie on December 30th as his last performance in his farewell tour.
B.B. King falls ill after a show at the Chicago’s House of Blues due to dehydration and exhaustion. The remainder of his tour is canceled.
In April the legendary singer is hospitalized for dehydration.
Passes away in Las Vegas on May 14th.