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Morgan Martinez

Kyser 1
22 October 2015
The King of Blues
Riley B. King also known as Blues Boy king or BB king is one of the best musicians in
history because of his songwriting, singing but mainly his guitar skills. Rated number six on the
Rolling Stone list of top one hundred guitarist, King truly has influence not only the Blues and
jazz world but the entire music and guitar world. Kings guitar style forever changed the way we
looked at music and composed many songs. Many other guitarist have been influenced by King
and many have been influenced by them making King one of the biggest parts of music.

Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation near the town Itta Bena Mississippi on
September 16, 1925. King was born into a poor family of sharecroppers, his father was Albert
King and his mother was Nora Ella King. At four years old his mother left his father for another
man, King was then raised by his grandmother Elnora Farr in Kilmichael Mississippi. At a young
age King dreamed of being a gospel singer and sang at his church, he attended Elkhorn Baptist
Church but was drawn to the church of god in christ because of the music. The minister taught
king three chords, his cousin Bukka White taught him as well. King was 15 years old when he
got his first guitar, nobody's quite sure if he bought it himself or if it was given to him, he named
it Lucille.

As King continued to focus on music he was influenced by celebrated jazz artist and
blues musicians T-bone Walker, Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. Sonny Boy
Williamsons popular radio show is we're King got his first break. In 1951 King recorded Three

O'clock blues and it later hit the charts in the R&B category. King's guitar solos were very
popular and recognizable because of the techniques he used. In solos king would bend strings
and quickly move from one note to another in order to get somewhat of a cry on his guitar. He
also played in shortened burst or get a richness in his solos. The solos and guitar pieces in his
songs are a big part of why he is a icon for jazz and blues.

Although the solos and songs seem complicated King used very simple equipment like
fender, mics and amps.s, gibsons, simple mics and amps. BB King was somewhat of a familiar
name but as time went by he became more and more well known. Many guitarist such as Eric
Clapton, David Gilmour, Buddy Guy and many more musician in the blues, jazz, rock,
songwriting and guitar industry. In 1982 King became a member of the Rock n Roll hall of fame
and later the Blues hall of fame in 1984. The lifetime achievements awards was given to him in
1987, the year 1990 king became a member of the songwriters hall of fame and received the
presidential medal of freedom. A BB King blues club was added in Universal city in California
and on Beale street in Memphis Tennessee, Rolling Stones magazine rated King number six on
the top one hundred guitarist list. Gibson guitars has had a BB King Lucille model that they gave
to him on his birthday, over a lifetime King has won seven grammys. King died on May 14, 2015
in Las Vegas at the age of 89.

Because of his amazing singing, songwriting and guitar skills BB King will forever be a
icon and memorable name in the music world. The styles of King will forever be remembered
and used in todays and the futures songwriting. As the different musicians go by King will be a
major influence for most of them. Although there are many musician it is and forever will be
very hard to pass King on the charts. Kings influences on music and musician have not only

changed the industry but the world also. With a career full of many achievements, recognition,
and many musicians being inspired by him BB King will forever be the king of blues.

Works Cited
Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
"B.B. King." B.B. King. N.p., Apr.-May 2015. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
Browne, David. "Top 100 Guitarist." Rolling Stone. N.p., 23 Nov. 2011. Web. 28 Oct.
2015. <>.

Amhiee. "The King of Guitar." : B.B. King. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2015.
King, B. B. Three O'clock Blues. BB King. Complete Blues, 1951. CD.