(born Riley B. King, September 16, 1925, Indianola, Mississippi)

Since the late 1960s, when rock and pop audiences discovered him and his refined, majestic brand of the blues, guitarist and singer B. B. King has been the music's most successful concert artist and its most consistently recognized ambassador.

He has been bestowed with more awards and honorary degrees than any other blues man and has made the cause of preserving the blues his lifetime work.  Almost single-handedly, he brought the blues out from the fringe of the American music spectrum and into its mainstream.

Thanks to King, blues is now performed in the most prestigious venues and in front of audiences whose introduction to the blues often stems back to the first time they heard a B. B. King record.

King has also had a profound effect on the inner workings of rock & roll.  Few, if any, blues men have exerted more influence on rock guitarists than King.  Greats such as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, along with Johnny Winter, Billy Gibbons, and Stevie Ray Vaughan were all touched by King to some degree.

As for blues guitarists, virtually every major stylist from the postwar period has, in some capacity, been influenced by the King style.  A member of the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, B. B. King has continued to be a vital performer and prolific recording artist despite advancing age and health problems.

His graciousness and articulation, especially when discussing the meaning and significance of the blues, have done much to build respect for the music and its culture.

Robert Santelli -- The Big Book of Blues:   A Biographical Encyclopedia


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