May 15, 2015


Rest in Peace, B.B. King, Dead at Age 89

Daniel Knighton/Getty Images
Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

Blues primogenitor and still-active-till-very-recently guitarist/singer B.B. King died on Friday in Las Vegas. Born Riley B. King in the tiny town of Itta Bena, Mississippi, he was 89 years old. B.B. King's website informs us, "Mr. King passed peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 pm Pacific time May 14 2015." 

The official missive's headline, appropriately and emotionally, is "The Thrill Is Gone."

Born in 1925, King released his first full-length album, Singin' the Blues, in 1956. "Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951," the New York Times writes, going on to relay that "Mr. King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003."

Steve Jennings/WireImage
Steve Jennings/WireImage

A King autobiography penned with David Ritz, Blues All Around Me, was released in 1996. King was married twice and was single for the last five decades. "By his own account he fathered 15 children with 15 women," writes the Times.

An entry at the Encyclopedia of World Biographies tells us "King was signed to Bullet Records and in 1949 recorded four songs at the radio station, including 'Miss Martha King' and 'I've Got the Blues.'"

Play us out, sir.