BB King is one of the most celebrated blues singers and guitarists of this time. Originally from Itta Bena, Mississippi, he began his career in 1949 and quickly rose to getting immense respect by music listeners and critics all around the world. His proficiency in guitar playing, and his undeniable talent as a singer, has made him the undisputed "King of the Blues". But this is only one amongst the long list of honors that he possesses. He has been acknowledged by Rolling Stone magazine as sixth best guitar player of all time from a list of 100. Then in 1987, he also became an inductee of the "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". He also originated the string bending style of guitar playing, introducing a vibrato to the sound that people had not experimented with commercially. He might be old and grey now, but the talent his talent is still not kept at home. His devoted fans can still get BB King Tickets to see him performing at shows all around the world.
BB King comes from a small town in Mississippi called Berclair. There, he grew up on a cotton plantation, raised by his grandmother. He developed the love and skill for music very early on - by 12 years of age and he had already brought a guitar and had begun to practice on his own. Although his job as a young man was to drive a tractor on the plantation, he would spend his nights performing in bars, both original songs and some covers of people that inspired him. Slowly, he moved his way up the success ladder and began to perform in Hollywood. Today, he is a man of many honorific titles.
It was by 1949 that King was signed to a prominent record label with the name of "RPM Records". He recorded his earliest work with Sam Phillips
, a man who would become a big name in music and would have his own company later on. He decided to put together a band that would help enhance the singer’s talent and named it "BB King Review". The group consisted mostly of people who would play traditional jazz instruments like the saxophone or the cello. Amongst the lineup was Onzie Horne
who would write or co-write a lot of the material that King would perform. Together, the band would go around their town, performing at every single club and any venue with open mic nights. Soon, they began to perform outside of their state as well.
By the 1950s, he had become the face of R&B music. He was putting out hit after hit, and during this decade, he released some of his most iconic tracks. Amongst the list were the famous "3 o Clock Blues" and the soft "Please Accept My Love". This was also the era in which he wrote a lot of romantic songs with the likes of "You Know I Love You" or "On My Word of Honor". Additionally, he also wrote songs that were more up the swing and the blues alley. Examples of this are "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer" and "Every Day I Have the Blues".
Over the years, he has developed a personal style of music that is recognizable. The way he plays the guitar and his accompanying vocals have no other counterparts. Even in the early days, when he would strike the first chord on the radio, people would know it was him. He introduced to the world of music a unique way of playing the guitar. He began the string bending style, which would add an almost vocal quality to the notes, on top of which he would add the vibrato with his famous left hand moves. These moves are the two basic components upon which any average BB King tune is built. This was also the standard which many more talented musicians to come would follow. Artists with the likes of George Harrison
of the Beatles and Eric Clapton
have indulged themselves in this technique. Essentially, what King has done is combine all what is good in jazz music, swing, pop and the blues and converted them into one cohesive unit.
Since he is currently playing a few shows around the country, his fans can find BB King tickets
for a town near them. They will possibly be witnessing a guitarist who has been respected in his lifetime and who will be remembered for many more years to come.
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