Photo: Danny Clinch
B.B. King Dies
Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died May 14 at his home in Las Vegas. Although a cause of death has not been disclosed, King's health declined within the past year due to complications from diabetes. He was 89. A true pioneer in the blues genre, King's career spanned nearly seven decades. The 15-time GRAMMY winner's inimitable vocal style and incendiary blues guitar vocabulary — which he brought to life via his signature guitar, Lucille — marked classic songs such as "3 O'Clock Blues," "The Thrill Is Gone" and "Every Day I Have The Blues," among others. King's discography totaled more than 50 albums, including 1965's Live At The Regal, one of four King recordings to be inducted into the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame. Currently ranking No. 6 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists list, his style transcended genres and generations, influencing fellow GRAMMY-winning guitarists such as Jeff Beck, Gary Clark Jr., Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, among others. King, who was honored with a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1987, holds the most GRAMMY wins in the Blues Field with eight. He won his first GRAMMY for "The Thrill Is Gone," his lone Billboard Hot 100 Top 15 hit, for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male, for 1970. The guitarist went on to win GRAMMYs in each of the next three decades, including Best Traditional Blues Recording for "My Guitar Sings The Blues" (1985); Best Traditional Blues Album for Blues Summit (1993); and Best Traditional Blues Album for Riding With The King (2000) with Clapton. He won his most recent GRAMMY for Best Traditional Blues Album for One Kind Favor for 2008.
"B.B. King pioneered the electric blues as we know it today, and his prolific career has left an indelible mark on music and our culture," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "Undoubtedly one of the most influential and hardest working musicians of our time, his remarkable legacy will continue to inspire many generations to come."