B.B.King is today’s Google Doodle and he is a song writer and guitarist born on September 16, 1925. He was born on a Mississippi Delta plantation near Berclair, Mississippi. He’s commonly referred to as the “King of the Blues,” and is considered to be among the genre’s most groundbreaking and influential artists.
Unknown Facts about B.B. King
- Riley B. King is his real name, he was a sharecropper’s son whose soulful, piercing guitar solos became recognizable with a single note. Often imitated but never duplicated, B.B. King became a blueprint for many of the world’s biggest rock stars who followed. “I wish I could just do like B. B. King,” said John Lennon of The Beatles. “If you would put me with B. B. King, I would feel real silly.”
- Bought his first guitar at the age of 12 – B.B.King was raised singing gospel music in church, King performed on street corners before hitchhiking to Memphis and landing a job on the air at radio station WDIA. There, locals began calling him “Beale Street Blues Boy,” later shortened to “Bee Bee” and finally “B.B.” King began recording in 1949 and never looked back after his first hit, “Three O’Clock Blues.” Records like “The Thrill is Gone” and “Every Day I Have the Blues” have become classics of the genre.
- B.B.King first Internationally acclaimed blue artist with 15 Grammy Awards – King opened for the Rolling Stones on tour and became the first internationally acclaimed blues artist, winning 15 Grammys, being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, receiving honorary doctorates from assorted universities, and performing at the White House. Embodying the traveling bluesman, King was also known for averaging more than 300 shows a year throughout various points in his career. King Was a Major Influence on Guitarists Like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards & Jimi Hendrix.
- B.B.King risked his life to save a guitar – King ran inside a burning nightclub to save a guitar, risking his own life for his beloved instrument. The fire had been caused by two men fighting over a woman named Lucille, and from that day forward, King referred to all his guitars by that name.
- King had two wives and 15 Children – B.B.King married twice and he was a father of 15 children. He married Martha Lee Denton in 1946 and they divorced in 1952. He married Sue Carol Hall in 1958, but their union similarly ended in divorce in 1966
- King Died In His Sleep from Vascular Dementia In 2015. His famous quotes are “When I sing, I play in my mind,” he once said. “The minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”