|Picture by Tom Beetz, CC-BY|
From Mississippi to Las Vegas and all points in between, born B. B. King played and sang the blues on his Gibson guitar named Lucille. Last night blues legend B.B. King died in Las Vegas at the age of 89.
Born Riley B. King on a cotton plantation in Itta Bena Mississippi, he purchased his first guitar at the age of twelve. He played in the church choir, and by twenty-three he was playing on the radio in Memphis. He used the stage name of Blues Boy, which became truncated to B.B.
I’ve seen B.B. King in concert several times. The last time was at the University of South Florida Sundome on December 30, 2004. B.B. King not only played the guitar, he entertained. Every song had a lead in story, a history, and a meaning. Like his music, his stories contained a bit of sadness, and a touch of irony. Sometimes you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. After all, he was a master of the blues.
With his passing another great musician joins that fantastic band in heaven. Imagine the jam sessions they must play, that would truly be heaven to listen in. Most of his songs were written based on life experiences that evoke emotions. His concerts were a treat, and he will be missed.