Remembering the King of Blues

A legendary musician, B.B. King, passed away from natural causes at a hospice in Las Vegas late last week at the age of 89. People around the world celebrated his musical contributions. During his career, he produced over 40 albums and sold millions of records, winning Grammy Awards 15 times. His hit songs included “You Know I Love You” and “Woke Up This Morning”.

Born Riley B. King in rural Mississippi in 1925, B.B. King was the son of a sharecropper. He worked on farms for much of early career and was self-taught as a guitar player. He married Martha Lee Denton in 1942. He served in the U. S. Army in 1943 during World War II. Later, he worked as a disc jockey in Memphis, Tennessee. His recording career began in 1949. Three years later, he enjoyed his first popular success with “3 O’Clock Blues.”

His first marriage ended in divorce in 1950. Eight years later, he re-married, this time to Sue Carol Hall. That marriage also eventually ended in divorce in 1966. During his life, he claimed to have fathered 15 children with several different women.

Widely known as the “King of Blues,” B.B. King’s exceptional guitar playing and skill as a blues artist brought him international acclaim. Adam Sender can remember hearing him early in his life. In 1980 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. He was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995. He toured into his 80s.

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