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GRAMMY-nominated blues singer/songwriter and Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bobby "Blue" Bland died June 23 due to complications from an ongoing illness. He was 83. Born Robert Calvin Bland in Rosemark, Tenn., Bland moved to Memphis in 1947 and subsequently joined the Beale Streeters, a collective that featured Johnny Ace, Rosco Gordon and B.B. King. Under the direction of the then-head of Duke Records, Don Robey, Bland scored his first hit single, 1957's "Farther On Up The Road," which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart. Known for his soulful vocals, Bland's additional R&B Singles hits included "Little Boy Blue" (1958, No. 10), "I'll Take Care Of You" (1960, No. 2), "Cry Cry Cry" (1960, No. 9), "I Pity The Fool" (1961, No. 1), and "Stormy Monday Blues" (1962, No. 5). Nicknamed “the Sinatra of the Blues,” Bland earned seven GRAMMY nominations throughout his career, including his most recent nomination in 1999 for Best Traditional Blues Album for Memphis Monday Morning. A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bland has been cited as an influence by artists such as the Band, Eric Clapton, the Grateful Dead, and Van Morrison, among others. In 1997 he was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award. Bland's 1961 hit "Turn On Your Love Light" was inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame in 1999.
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