B.B. King — Three O’Clock Blues
Unanimously elected and crowned as the King of Blues, B.B. King is the biggest force and influence in the field of music. The reigning champion’s kingdom remains unrivalled and unscathed even after half a century, in which his contribution to the Blues music makes some of the top-notch artists like Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Jeff Beck and many others sound like just amateurs. Over 80 years old and with more than fifty albums to his credit, the King not only rules, he has been also a role model to many musicians for many decades. Whether you belong to country, folk, rock, jazz or blues; everyone respects B.B. King as the undisputed Guru of Blues music. B.B. King’s guitar lead and unique style of singing has been the key factor behind universal appeal of Blues compositions.
B.B. King was born in September 16, 1925, on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi and started playing on street corners at a very young age. In 1947, he hitchhiked to the land of music, Memphis, TN, to pursue his career. He stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who primed B.B. King in the art of blues music. B.B. King’s first big break came in 1948, when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program on KWEM, out of West Memphis. It ended up with a constant stream of offers and his fans started craving his music.
B.B. King’s first number one hit, «Three O’Clock Blues», was the trigger point of his popularity all across the country and he started touring all across the United States. In 1956, B.B. and his band played an incredible 342 one-night shows. Graduating from street corners, small-town cafes, county bars and country dance halls to rock palaces, symphony concert halls, resort hotels and amphitheaters, nationally and internationally, B.B. King had become the most coveted blues musician, ever since it’s inception.
B.B. King has been admired by some of the most notable contemporary rock artists, and they helped him introduce his phenomenal talent to the young white audience. In 1968, B.B. played at the Newport Folk Festival with some of the hottest rock artists of the time and in 1969, Rolling Stones had B.B. King to open 18 American concerts for them. B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987. He has been bestowed with honorary doctorates by many prestigious colleges and universities all across the country.
At age 80, B.B. continues to tour all over the world, averaging over 250 concerts per year. His classics such as «Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss», «The Thrill Is Gone», «How Blue Can You Get», «Everyday I Have The Blues», «Why I Sing The Blues», «Three O’Clock Blues», «You Don’t Know Me», «Please Love Me», «You Upset Me Baby», «Sweet Sixteen, Part I», «Don’t Answer The Door, Part I», and, of course, his most popular hit, 1970’s «The Thrill Is Gone» and many more will be cherished by the coming generations of music fans.