June 18, 2015
A Tribute to BB King
This year, the world of music lost a singer songwriter who was born Riley B. King. Most people know him by his stage name of BB King. He was listed as one of the greatest guitarists in the world and has been listed as a source of inspiration for musicians around the globe.
Born in 1925, BB King grew up in Mississippi. He is known for such songs as “The Thrill Has Gone”, “Rock Me Baby”, and “Every Day I have the Blues”.
King was perhaps best known for introducing a style of soloing that involved fluid string along with shimmering vibrato. This was very influential on the music industry, and many electric blues guitarists learned from BB King simply by listening to his music and mimicking some of what he did.
He was a tireless music performer throughout his career. Even in his 70s, he would go on tour and put on more than 200 concerts every year. In 1956, he reportedly performed 342 shows for the year.
BB King was commonly seen at the top of the Billboard Charts, particularly within the Rhythm and Blues category. Several of his managers throughout his career guided him into different venues. He won multiple Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during 1987.
It has been said that King was responsible for taking blues from the venues with “dirt floor, smoke in the air” to the concert halls. He believed that blues music belonged everywhere that beautiful music belonged. He worked with a number of other successful musicians, including David Sanborn, Gladys Knight, George Duke, and countless others in order to create new styles of music and compilations. One of his best tours was that of the Montreux Jazz Festival where he shared the stage with many other music greats.
Even though BB King is no longer with us and making music, his music and his contribution to the industry is still around. He still has the ability to influence a number of musicians, even the ones who are just beginning their musical journeys in music school.
King started to record songs beginning in 1949. He was active all the way through 2013, providing decades worth of music to be inspired by. There are countless people who have been inspired by him, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and even those who were not great guitarists.
You don’t have to play the guitar or even want to play the guitar to be influenced by BB King. He took a sound that was well known within the black community and made it a sound that everyone could appreciate. He believed in the beauty of the music and brought it out to share with the world – and his contribution will be seen for decades into the future.