Today, 15 May 2015, a generation of music has ended with the death of BB King who passedÂ away in his sleep in Las Vegas. He was 89 years of age and suffering from diabetes. Born onÂ 16 September 1925 in a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississipi, King was a 15 times GrammyÂ award winner. His style of playing the guitar inclined towards single strung notes, loudÂ chords, bent notes and vibratos. His music has the ability to lay at ease a troubled mind or toÂ rejoice along with othersâ jubilation. To sum him and his music up in one word, they wereÂ ALIVE and will forever remain so, in our hearts.
Riley B. King, better known as BB King, had been performing for more than 70 years, withÂ over 50 albums, his career expanding well into his 80âs. He had begun recording in theÂ 1940âs and got his first big break in 1948 when he performed on Sunny Boy WilliamsonâsÂ radio program. His first Rhythm Nâ Blues (R&B) hit âThree OâClock Bluesâ was recorded inÂ 1950. King was also a mentor to various artists including Eric Clapton and Bobby Guy.
He made it to the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and to the Rock and Roll hall ofÂ Fame in 1987 along with a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. He was also awardedÂ with the Songwriters Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement Award. He also receivedÂ doctorates from Yale University in 1977 and Berklee College of Music in 1982, rising to beÂ known as the King of Blues and rightly so. President George W. Bush had placed on him theÂ honour of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.
His songs âHow Blue Can You Get,â âThe Thrill Is Gone,â âEveryday I Have The Blues,âÂ âPayin The Cost To Be The Boss,â were the most popular concert numbers. His songs were aÂ âcall and response between him and Lucille (his Gibson guitar).â As he used to say, âWhen IÂ sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.â
Many celebrities have lamented his demise on social media namely, Lenny Kravitz âBB,Â anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one. #RIP #BBKing.âÂ Eric Clapton too has put up a video saying goodbye to his âdear friendâ who was anÂ inspiration to him. He states in the video that the Kingâs music was pure in a way that cannotÂ be found anymore.