Mentor in Memorium: B.B. King (1926-2015)

BB_KingOne of the most influential blues musicians ever, B.B. King, sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into both the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Mr. King played a guitar he affectionately called “Lucille,” and with his soulful voice, heartfelt lyrics, and scorching guitar licks became a mentor to dozens of musicians.

One of those he acted as a mentor to was British blues guitar legend Eric Clapton, who said of his mentor, “I want to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, and for the friendship that we enjoyed. There’s not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left to play in the pure way that B.B. did. He was a beacon for all of us who loved this kind of music. If you’re not familiar with his work, I would encourage you to go out and find an album called ‘B.B. King: Live at the Regal,’ which is where it started for me as a young player.”

Mr. King was raised by his grandmother after his parents separated and his mother died. At 7 he picked cotton, drove tractors, and dropped out of school in grade 10.

Shirley King, one of the 11 of his 15 surviving biological children said, “I didn’t get a chance to hug my daddy and tell him goodbye.”

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