As long as B.B King is around, the thrill will never be gone. Holding down the 3rd spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", King has defined blues music and earned the admiration of a worldwide fan base. With more than 75 records, his magnificent career as a blues artist has fetched him seven Grammy Awards, the Presidential Medal of the Arts, induction into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the American Heritage Fellowship Award, three NAACP Image Awards, an MTV Video Music Award, 22 Downbeat Music Magazine Readers and Critics Poll Awards, 5 Guitar Player Magazine Awards, an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Yale University and many more such accolades. Above all, King is known as an excellent human being, always smiling and always with a kind word. Though he lost his mother when he was very young, King has lived by what she had told him while on her death bed, “Always try and be kind and nice to people. And if you do that, somebody will always speak up for you". Interestingly, when King attended a garden party in Washington D.C hosted by Queen Elizabeth of England, the Reverend Jesse Jackson had this to say, “Looks like more people are lining up to see the King than the Queen”.
Named Riley B. King, the blues legend was born on September 16, 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi. He started his music career by playing on street corners, and then hitchhiked to Memphis, Tennessee in 1947, where he honed his skills with help from his cousin Bukka White. In 1948 King got an opportunity to perform on Sonny Boy Williamson's radio program on KWEM. What followed was regular work and his own radio spot called “King’s Spot” on WDIA, the Memphis radio station. King then changed his name, first to Beale Street Blues Boy, then to Blues Boy King, and finally stayed put with B.B. King. Then began the incredible journey from street corners to juke joints to dance halls to concerts, first countrywide and then all across the globe. As blues fans kept showering him with love and admiration, King gave back as good as he got, with hits like “The Thrill is Gone”, “How Blue Can You Get”, “It's My Own Fault”, “Let The Good Times Roll”, “You've Done Lost Your Good Thing Now”, “The Power Of The Blues”, “Blue Shadows”, “Why I Sing The Blues”, “I Have The Blues” and more. Even now King tours and performs frequently, and blues fans just cannot get enough of his compelling voice, the vocal-like string bends and his ethereal left hand vibrato. His Gibson guitar or Lucille has been his faithful confidante over the years, and those who have seen King perform live can actually feel the love flowing between the man and his guitar.
So who is the blues legend’s favorite singer? In his autobiography Blues All Around Me, King has called himself a “Sinatra nut”. The book is a must-have for all King fans, and so is The B.B. King Blues Master instructional DVD, the answer to the prayers of all those who want to play like King. When asked in an interview about his favorite personal album, King had picked My Kind of Blues. King owns night clubs in a number of U.S cities across the U.S, including Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Las Vegas and New York City. With so many incredible accomplishments behind him, King was once asked whether he would have done things differently if he had the chance. His answer was, “I would finish high school, go to college if at all possible, and learn about music, major in music and minor in business of some kind, maybe computers, if I knew how — and I wouldn't get married until after 40!”