B.B. King died at age 89 years. He was one of the last living legends of blues of origins, he played since the late 40s.
By showmanship, the over 300 annual concerts given by him for decades and his art of guitar solo, it is perhaps the bluesman who had the most influence on rock. A reference for Eric Clapton, he also accompanied on the road in 1969 the Rolling Stones and U2 twenty years later, managing to convey the blues to all generations.
If he suffered from chronic diabetes and a weakness at the knees which required him to play sitting, BB King assured jokingly in an interview with AFP in 2007 that his “disease” most important was called “I want more ! “ promising to play again and again ” unto death “.
Childhood Riley Ben King, born September 16, 1925 in Itta Bena near Indianola (Mississippi), similar to that of thousands of black children, farm workers in large cotton plantations of the “mid south” segregationist.
But the young King, orphan, has the chance to adolescence to be taken under the wing of Bukka White, his cousin. The blind guitarist who had a serious reputation in the region, will play a key role in his musical education: it introduced him to the guitar and introduced him to the big city, Memphis, where he lived from 1947
The future BB King rubs Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), Robert Lockwood Jr., Bobby “Blue” Bland, performs regularly at Beale Street – where he later owned a club in his name – the “Broadway “black music in the United States.
His career took a new turn in 1949 when he was hired in radio and wins his nickname” Blues Boy “(BB).
A positive image of bluesman
Ike Turner at that time talent detector, puts him on the road to success: the young BB King wins with Three O’Clock Blues the first “hit” in 1951 and abandoned the radio to go on the road with his guitar.
The result? Turn always with a sophisticated and authentic blues, at the head of a large orchestra in the line of T-Bone Walker
The legend is running. Regional success in the 50s, with national titles like Sweet Sixteen (1960) and benefits at Newport Festival between 1968 and 1975 Monterey in 1967 where he shared the bill with Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding, with a first international appearance in Europe in 1968 and Japan in 1971.
With age and his declining health, he reduced the number of concerts but still give a hundred per year over 80 years. In early October 2014, he had to cut short US tour in eight canceling dates because of his fatigue.
Despite the glitter of Las Vegas casinos, this humble man never forgot his origins . The evening of the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968, he improvises a concert with his disciple Buddy Guy and Jimi Hendrix. In the early 1970s, he also gave a series of concerts in prisons and founded in March 1972 an association with a lawyer for detainees.
Beyond its musical qualities, BB King decorated in 2006 of the “Presidential Medal of Freedom”, the highest civilian honor in the United States, has always wanted to impose a positive image of blues, away from drugs, alcohol and violence ghettos.