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B.B. King Dies: Iconic Blues Singer and Guitarist Was 89

Image: B.B. King Dies: Iconic Blues Singer and Guitarist Was 89
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By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 06:42 AM

B.B. King, the iconic blues artist and credited with being one of the most influential guitarists of his era, died late Thursday at his Las Vegas home at 89.

Critics lauded King for bringing blues to the mainstream, elevating the musical genre from small African-American clubs known then as the "chitlin circuit" to many of the world's biggest venues and audiences, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

King, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who won 15 Grammy Awards over his career with a guitar he nicknamed "Lucille," influenced some of the best known guitarists of the industry, including The Beatles' George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Robert Cray and Bonnie Raitt, noted the Review-Journal.

King was still performing up until last year when he canceled a series of concerts because of illness and never returned to the stage. His representatives announced May 1 that he had entered hospice, according to Variety.

"King's is now the name most synonymous with the blues, much as Louis Armstrong's once was with jazz," music critic Francis Davis wrote in "The History of the Blues," according to Variety. "You don't have to be a blues fan to have heard of King."

He was Born Riley B. King in Mississippi. The New York Times noted that his nickname "Blues Boy" was shortened to B.B. when he played with the likes of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf in the 1940 and became his persona.

"Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love," wrote the Times Tim Weiner.

Fellow musicians and entertainers posted their condolences on social media.


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B.B. King, the iconic blues artist and credited with being one of the most influential guitarists of his era, died late Thursday at his Las Vegas home at 89.
bb king, dies, blues, singer, guitarist
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2015-42-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 06:42 AM
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