BB King passed away this morning at the age of 89. As the music industry, and more specifically, the blues world mourns the loss of this giant among giants, we at Parlour Pawn want to take the time to appreciate the King of the Blues.
Riley B. King was born in a share croppers shack on a cotton plantation in Mississippi. We don’t have the space to go into the social ramifications of this fact, but lets just say that most everyone born into this type of situation were probably subjected to abject poverty and severe racism for the rest of their lives. It’s a tribute to the indomitable spirit of BB King that he pulled himself so far up from a bottom most of us can never begin to comprehend. He started playing on street corners as a young musician. Blues, or Rhythm & Blues was the “pop music” of African Americans at the time. BB formed his first group in 1949, signed a recording contract and started touring the country. In 1952 he had his first hit with “3 O’Clock Bues”. A string of hits followed and he was on the road 300-350 nights a year from 1956 until the mid 2000’s. He won just about every music award many times over and had hits on the radio such as “The Thrill Is Gone”, which garnered a Grammy Award in 1970. His talent and popularity only grew, never waning. In the 80’s, 90’s and into the new millennium he co wrote and recorded hits with stars such as U2, Tracy Chapman, and Eric Clapton. His successful chain of live venues “BB King’s Blues Club” made him a name brand.
We could go on and on with his list of accomplishments. BB king’s legacy will stand the test of time and his music will play forever. Parlour Pawn solutes the great BB King.