Thursday night, B.B. King, who was known for singing the blues, died in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89. King had diabetes, and his health had been deteriorating this past year.
Keith Mann told me that The King of the Blues was born Riley B. King in 1925 on a farm in Mississippi. His parents were sharecroppers, but they split up when B.B. was 4 years old. When he was young he worked in the cotton fields and he sang in the choir at the Elkhorn Baptist Church.
After a stint in the army, King got his start singing with a gospel quartet in Mississippi. He went on from there to become a disc jockey in Memphis. “Three O’Clock Blues” was his first hit in 1951.
King recorded more than 40 albums and received 16 Grammy Awards, one being the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.