Riley "B.B" King – The King of Blues

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Riley “B.B” King is one of the greatest musicians of all time in the USA. The legend was born on September 16, 1925, northwest Mississippi. Riley King had an enormous interest in learning chords and singing in the local churches. He grew up listening to recordings by Leadbelly, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson. King got inspired and turned out to be a prominent blues artist and a guitarist. Formerly, Riley king was a gospel singer, but he diverted his career to blues after identifying massive potential in the field (Danchin 49).

            King expounded his career and between 1950 and 1961, the legend had recorded more than 200 songs. He again identified potential in other genres of music such as Rock charts, pop and R&B. Due to his educative, skilled and fantastic music, King became an international musician and many countries recognized his great work.  Countries like England welcomed King to perform to the queen of England.  This contributed to his career and Riley King was honored and showered with many awards. For instance, the legend was honored by the National Medal of Arts and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 among others. Besides, the legend has won fourteen Grammy awards. In 1987, the legend was honored with a lifetime achievement award by National Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences (King 79).

            The king’s reputation was highly recognized in Sweden in 2004, where he was awarded Sweden's Polar Music Prize in appreciation of his endless efforts and outstanding achievements towards the generation and advancement of the blues genre.

            Riley king has set innumerable recordings that serve as examples to young and upcoming artists in the USA. The King’s musical influence has positively inspired and nurtured other prominent artists such as Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Prince and Bo Didley (King 81). The late Riley King guitar skills have mentored many well-known guitarists in the world such as Jimi Hendrix. Besides, he has inspired many people to learn musical instruments in America.

            Many musical bands have been created under his outstanding musical career. His sophisticated bend notes, subtle vibratos and soloing have influenced many artists to produce world-class music in different music genres such as R&B, pop music and hip hop. Many artists have learned how to do live show concerts by emulating King’s performances. Riley King always used his guitar and voice to provide harmony and melody in recordings and live performances (Danchin 56). In the USA, many blues and R&B artists have adopted the same. This has expounded musical careers in the USA in all music genres.

            Precisely, Riley King was an outstanding musician and he is highly recognized as the king and ambassador of blues music. He set as an example in the music career and different artists highly follow his footsteps from different music genres. His recognition and appreciation globally have influenced and changed the landscape of music in the USA.

Works cited

Danchin, Sebastian. Blues Boy: The Life and Music of BB King. Univ. Press of Mississippi, (1998): 49-60.

King, B. B. "l6. Rhythm and Blues in the Early 1950s." The Pop, Rock, and Soul Reader: Histories and            Debates (2009): 79-81.

October 05, 2023


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