Blues Legend B.B. King Passes Away At Age 89

Video: Honeyboy Walter via Youtube. Performance: 1989

The thrill is gone... blues icon, B.B. King has died at the age of 89. A statement on the musician's official website said, "Mr. King passed peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 pm Pacific time May 14, 2015."

More recently, the music legend was reported to be in hospice care at his Las Vegas home. For more than half a century, Riley B. King – better known as B.B. King – defined the blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he released over fifty albums, many of them classics.

B.B.'s Gibson guitar, named Lucille, was just as famous as he was. Over the years, B.B. developed one of the world’s most identifiable guitar styles. He borrowed from Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and others.

The musician once said, “When I sing, I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille.”

His hits are endless: “Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss,” “The Thrill Is Gone,” How Blue Can You Get,” “Everyday I Have The Blues,” and “Why I Sing The Blues” Over the years, the Grammy Award-winner had two #1 R&B hits, 1951’s “Three O’Clock Blues,” and 1952’s “You Don’t Know Me,” and four #2 R&B hits, 1953’s “Please Love Me,” 1954’s “You Upset Me Baby,” 1960’s “Sweet Sixteen, Part I,” and 1966’s “Don’t Answer The Door, Part I.” B.B.’s most popular crossover hit, 1970’s “The Thrill Is Gone,” went to #15 pop.

B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He received NARAS’ Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1987, and has received honorary doctorates from Tougaloo(MS) College in 1973; Yale University in 1977; Berklee College of Music in 1982; Rhodes College of Memphis in 1990; Mississippi Valley State University in 2002 and Brown University in 2007. In 1992, he received the National Award of Distinction from the University of Mississippi.

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