International Music Charts 2018:

Blues musician B.B. King dies aged 89

Friday, May 15, 2015

B.B. King in 2009
Image: Tom Beetz.

B.B. King, legendary blues guitarist well known for tracks such as “Rock Me Baby“, “My Lucille“, and “The Thrill Is Gone“, died in his Las Vegas home yesterday at the age of 89.

Attorney Brent Bryson said King died in his sleep.

A 15-time Grammy winner, with over 50 albums released, King played live for nearly 70 years. He had reportedly collapsed at a Chicago performance back in October, and blamed dehydration and exhaustion for the incident. King recently was under hospice care at home, after being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure in hospital. The last public statement B.B King made, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, was early this month. He said, “I am in hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas. Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”

Known for playing the blues on his Gibson guitar called Lucille, B.B King was admired by many musicians, including Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and Otis Rush. The Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame both inducted him in the 1980s; and the Songwriters Hall of Fame recognized him with a lifetime achievement award in 1990. King also collaborated with other music artists and bands. In 1989 he played with U2 on their track “When Love Comes to Town“, and in the millennium, worked with Eric Clapton on “Riding with the King“; which received a Grammy that same year.

Riley B King, who would eventually be called the King of Blues, grew up in Mississippi where he lived on a plantation as a sharecropper. He found success in the 50’s with hit track “Three O’Clock Blues“, and was well-known for not singing and playing guitar at the same time; a call and response between his vocals and his Lucille.

With the news of his death, many musicians payed their respects through Twitter. Guitarist Richie Sambora wrote, “My friend and legend BB King passed. I’m so so sad, he was so great to me. We’ve lost the King. My love and prayers to his family.” The Beatles Ringo Starr also wrote, “God bless BB King, peace and love to his family”.