b. September 16, 1925
Born Riley B. King. B.B. was born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi and was raised primarily by his maternal grandmother. The Baptist church played a huge role in his early love for music and it was a minister who taught him his first 3 guitar chords.
His first big break came while working for radio station WDIA in West Memphis, Arkansas as a singer, musician and disc jockey. It was there that he was given the
nickname Beale Street Blues Boy, later shortens to Blues Boy and finally reduced to B.B.
King’s first recording took place in 1949. It would lead to totals that include 43 studio albums, 16 Live albums, 138 singles and more than 17 million albums sold.
B.B. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He has received an honorary doctorate degrees from Yale, Brown and the Berkley Collage of Music. Won 15 Grammy awards and was enshrined into the Grammy Hall of Fame. In 1995 B.B. was recognized by the Kennedy Center Honors and in 2006 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.
“The King of the Blues” died in his sleep at the age of 89 and was laid to rest at the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi.