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Author Topic: "King of the Blues" B.B. King Dead at Age 89  (Read 3941 times)
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MuffyBee
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« on: May 15, 2015, 09:22:21 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/story/life/music/2015/05/15/bb-king-obit/25381783/
Blues icon B.B. King dies at 89
May 15, 2015



B.B. King spread joy to millions by giving them the blues.

The iconic musician, along with his ever-present guitar Lucille, spent nearly 70 years thrilling audiences and spreading the music he learned as a poverty-stricken youth in the Mississippi Delta all over the world.

King, 89, died in Las Vegas, his attorney announced late Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

"Blues is a tonic for whatever ails you," King told USA TODAY in 2005. "I could play the blues and then not be blue anymore.''

The same could be said of those who heard him play. No matter how stormy the tale he'd weave, by the time he was through, the clouds had parted.
 

"B.B. King was one of the few classic blues artists to have songs on mainstream radio,'' noted Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. "Because I was able to hear his guitar playing on the The Thrill is Gone, it showed that given the right song you could sneak some great guitar sounds into top 40 radio."

Almost as well-known as King's artistry and recordings was his prolific performing schedule. Director Jon Brewer's 2014 documentary B.B. King: The Life of Riley, which featured appearances by Carlos Santana, Bono, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr, detailed his non-stop touring, which at the time of his death had exceeded 15,000 shows. King outlived his tour manager, Norman Matthews, who died in May 2014.

He received nearly every accolade in his field: 15 Grammy Awards (not counting a Lifetime Achievement nod in 1987); inductions into the Rock and Roll and Blues Foundation halls of fame; a Kennedy Center Honor; Presidential Medal of the Arts; President Medal of Freedom; the international Polar Music Prize; and honorary doctorates from Yale and Brown.

One of his most deeply affecting honors came in 2005 when the Mississippi state legislature honored him with B.B. King Day.
 
A segment of U.S. 61 (the legendary Blues Highway, which stretches from New Orleans to Minnesota) in Tennessee was named after him an appropriate honor for a man who spent most of his life on the road. In 1956, he said he played 342 one-nighters, and he routinely did more than 200 gigs a year, tapering to 100 in recent years. His appearance at the 2013 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was a late-career highlight.
 
King's influence on other musicians is well-documented. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine listed him at No. 6 on its list of 100 greatest guitarists, behind No. 1 Jimi Hendrix, Clapton, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck. Among the numerous acts he performed or recorded with were Hendrix, Clapton, U2, Bobby "Blue'' Bland, Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks and Sheryl Crow.

Most importantly, his music reached a vast audience. King "has done more, by far, for putting the blues into the mainstream of American music than anyone ever has," said former Roomful of Blues guitarist and two-time Grammy Award nominee Duke Robillard. "He was a warm and gracious man whose encouragement has meant more than anything to me. A truly beautiful person.''

King himself was influenced by bluesmen T-Bone Walker, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson, and jazz guitarists Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian. He was also enamored with Delta blues players, including his cousin Bukka White.

His constant companion, Lucille, is almost as famous as he is. There were more than a dozen Lucilles (he often joked that he kept forgetting to return loaners to Gibson guitar company, when he sent his own guitars in for repairs). The original was named when he rescued the $30 instrument from a juke-joint fire, which started when two men fighting over a woman named Lucille knocked over a kerosene lamp. The name served as a reminder for him to never again run into a burning building, but King also liked the idea of seeing his guitar as a lady.

Among the many tributes in the 2005 book The B.B. King Treasures, Santana recalls seeing King at a 1968 concert at San Francisco's Fillmore auditorium. The show helped introduce him to mainstream rock audiences, and a year later he would open for the Rolling Stones on their American tour.

"When he hit the note to bring the band in, my whole life was changed,'' said Santana. "I could see what Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton and everybody else saw in him. ... When you play like that, you heal yourself and you heal other people.''

King's music was a unique blend of traditional blues, jazz, pop and swing. And although he was highly skilled on the guitar, he never learned to play and sing at the same time. His songs nearly always alternated between his rustic, crying vocals, and his spine-tingling, bent-note playing, both accompanied by facial expressions that were at turns ugly and beatific.
 
Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation in central Mississippi just outside Berclair, on Sept. 16, 1925. His early life was hard. He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse and had to overcome a stuttering problem. His parents separated when he was 4 and his mother died when he was 10.

As recounted in his autobiography, for the next four years he lived alone in his cabin, working the farm and picking cotton to support himself. His father came back to get him when he was in his mid-teens and moved him in with his new wife and kids, but Riley didn't stay long. He soon returned to the farm until a tractor accident convinced him to take his guitar and the $2.50 in his pocket and hitchhike up U.S. 49 to Memphis.

By that time, he was starting to gain proficiency on the instrument that he'd become enamored with when he was seven, after hearing a minister play. He made his own single-string "guitars" out of broomsticks and strands of wire until he bought his first real guitar for $15 when was 12.

King got his big break on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio show. He was called the "Beale Street Blues Boy,'' which soon became "Blues Boy King" and eventually B.B. King. He became popular enough to get own sponsored radio show on station WDIA.

He cut several records starting in 1949 for the Nashville-based Bullet label and some for Sam Phillips' RPM label. It was there that he did Three O'Clock Blues, which stayed atop the R&B charts for 15 weeks in 1951.

A long string of classics followed over the years, including How Blue Can You Get; Everyday I Have the Blues; Sweet Sixteen, Part 1; Please Love Me; Sweet Little Angel;and You Upset Me Baby. His biggest pop hit and signature tune was 1970's The Thrill Is Gone, which earned him his first Grammy and was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.

In recent years, his albums generally have won acclaim. His most recent studio work, 2008's One Kind Favor, was produced by T Bone Burnett and won a Grammy for best traditional blues album.

Earlier work, such as 1956's Singin' the Blues, 1965's Live at the Regal and his 1974 collaboration with Bland, Together for the First Time ... Live, are considered classics.

But King was much more than a mere hit-maker he was the preeminent blues ambassador, playing for presidents (George H.W. Bush played with him onstage after his 1989 inauguration, and Barack Obama sang with him briefly in 2012) and kings.

He kept in touch with fans through his annual B.B. King Blues Festival tour, which featured top and emerging blues artists, and his B.B. King Homecoming Festival in Indianola, Miss. Indianola is also the site of the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center, which opened in 2008. Part of the museum is housed in the Last Brick Cotton Gin, where King worked in the 1940s.
 
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2015, 09:27:41 AM »

http://www.austin360.com/ap/ap/entertainment/king-of-the-blues-blues-legend-bb-king-dead-at-age/nmG2j/
'King of the Blues' blues legend B.B. King dead at age 89
May 15, 2015





LAS VEGAS B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His attorney, Brent Bryson, told The Associated Press that King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT. He said funeral arrangements were underway.
 
Although he had continued to perform well into his 80s, the 15-time Grammy winner suffered from diabetes and had been in declining health during the past year. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October, later blaming dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home.

For most of a career spanning nearly 70 years, Riley B. King was not only the undisputed king of the blues but a mentor to scores of guitarists, who included Eric Clapton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. He recorded more than 50 albums and toured the world well into his 80s, often performing 250 or more concerts a year.

King played a Gibson guitar he affectionately called Lucille with a style that included beautifully crafted single-string runs punctuated by loud chords, subtle vibratos and bent notes.

The result could bring chills to an audience, no more so than when King used it to full effect on his signature song, "The Thrill is Gone." He would make his guitar shout and cry in anguish as he told the tale of forsaken love, then end with a guttural shouting of the final lines: "Now that it's all over, all I can do is wish you well."
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2015, 09:47:21 AM »

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/the-legacy-of-lucille-the-surprising-story-behind-b-b-kings-guitar-20150515
The Legacy of Lucille: The Surprising Story Behind B.B. King's Guitar
After rescuing the instrument from a fire, the guitar became an icon

May 15, 2015

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« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2015, 10:34:09 AM »

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/b-b-king-was-poisoned-claims-bluesmans-children-20150526
B.B. King Was Poisoned, Claim Bluesman's Children
May 26, 2015

A homicide probe into the death of B.B. King will be launched after two of the blues legend's daughters accused his two closest aides, business manager LaVerne Toney and personal assistant Myron Johnson, of poisoning King prior to his May 14th death. In court documents released to The Associated Press, King's daughters Karen Williams and Patty King said, "I believe my father was poisoned and that he was administered foreign substances. I believe my father was murdered."
According to Patty King's affidavit, she said she witnessed Toney administer two drops of an unknown substance on B.B. King's tongue at night in the months before his death; Toney never told Patty King what the substance was. B.B. King gave Toney power of attorney years ago, the AP writes, as well as named her executor of his estate, which could be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Toney did not reply to a request for comment by Rolling Stone.

Nevada officials announced Monday that they would open a homicide investigation, adding that they now had jurisdiction over King's body and conducted an autopsy Sunday, Reuters reports. Results are expected to take six to eight weeks; the fact that King was embalmed and displayed for public viewing shouldn't affect those results, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said.

Brent Bryson, an attorney for B.B. King's estate which now has Toney as executor did not reply to a request for comment, but denied Karen Williams and Patty King's accusations to the AP, calling them "ridiculous" and "extremely disrespectful." "I hope they have a factual basis that they can demonstrate for their defamatory and libelous allegations," Bryson said. While Toney and Johnson didn't formally comment to the AP, Toney did say, "They've been making allegations all along. What's new?"

Bryson added that three doctors determined that King was being properly cared for in his final weeks while in hospice care, and that King received 24-hour care and monitoring "up until the time that he peacefully passed away in his sleep." In April, King was hospitalized with dehydration related to diabetes.

King had 11 surviving children at the time of his death; the family has hired attorney Larissa Drohobyczer to represent them. Three of those children went to court in Las Vegas earlier this month in a failed attempt to remove Toney's power of attorney over King. One of King's daughters, Shirley King, also told KLAS-TV after her father's death that Toney had cut off the family's access to the blues great.
 
Following a Beale Street procession and memorial scheduled for Wednesday in Memphis, King's funeral will be held May 29th and 30th in King's hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.
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