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B.B. King Facts

B.B. King: King of the Blues and Icon of Music

Singer’s Bio

B.B. King was born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925, in Itta Bena, Mississippi. King was an American musician, songwriter, and singer, who played a crucial role in popularizing the blues genre from the 1950s until his death in 2015. He was one of the most celebrated blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “King of the Blues”.


B.B. King passed away on May 14, 2015, at the age of 89.


King was married twice, first to Martha Lee Denton in 1946 and then to Sue Carol Hall in 1958. Both marriages ended in divorce. He had several romantic relationships throughout his life, but he never remarried.


King fathered 15 children with 15 different women.


King was 6 feet 1 inch tall (185 cm).


King began his career in 1949 when he landed a radio show on WDIA in Memphis, Tennessee. In the 1950s, King and his band toured extensively, often playing more than 300 shows a year. He signed his first recording contract in 1949 and went on to record over 50 albums throughout his career. He is credited with helping to establish the electric guitar as a lead instrument in blues music.

King’s popularity skyrocketed in the 1960s as he performed at several music festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival and the Monterey Pop Festival. He played with other notable musicians, including Eric Clapton and Bono, and collaborated with a wide range of artists from across the musical spectrum, including jazz, rock, and country.

Top Songs

King had numerous hits throughout his career, including “The Thrill Is Gone,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “When Love Comes to Town,” and “Three O’Clock Blues.” “The Thrill Is Gone” became his signature song and earned him a Grammy Award in 1970.

Net Worth

At the time of his death, King’s net worth was estimated to be around $10 million.

A Legacy That Continues to Inspire

King’s influence on music and popular culture cannot be overstated. He inspired countless musicians with his distinctive guitar playing and soulful vocals. Guitarists from across the musical spectrum have cited King as a major influence, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. King’s legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians, ensuring that his impact on music will be felt for many years to come.

In addition to his musical contributions, King was also a philanthropist, establishing the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola, Mississippi, to celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the Mississippi Delta.

King received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including induction into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

A Humble and Gracious Man

Despite his massive success, King remained humble and gracious throughout his life. He was known for his warm and friendly personality, and he made a point to connect with his fans both on and off the stage.

In a 1991 interview with NPR, King summed up his philosophy on life and music:

“I always say to people, ‘You know, God blesses me. And I try to be a blessing to other people.’ That keeps me going.”

King passed away on May 14, 2015, but his music and his legacy live on. He will forever be remembered as the King of the Blues, a true icon of American music.

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