B. B. King
Riley B. King aka B. B. King (born September 16th, 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi) is a well known American blues guitarist and songwriter. He is among the most respected electric guitarists; Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No.3 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. One of King's trademarks is naming his guitar (Gibson ES335) "Lucille". In the 1950s in a bar in Twist, Arkansas two men got into a fight, accidentally knocking over a bucket of burning kerosene (used for heating) and setting the establishment on fire. Risking his life, B.B. King ran back into the collapsing building to retrieve his guitar. King later found out that the two men had been fighting over a woman named Lucille. He named his guitar after her to remind himself never to do something so stupid again. King began broadcasting his music live on a Memphis radio station called WDIA. At first, he used the name The Peptikon Boy on air, which later was changed to The Beale Street Blues Boy, and then further shortened to just Blues Boy or B.B. His first hit on the r&b charts was "Three O'Clock in the Morning" in 1951. King became one of the most influential electric guitarists in history, one example being a young Eric Clapton citing B.B. as his biggest influence. He has been the primary international goodwill ambassador for the blues decade after decade. King first found success outside of the blues market with the 1968 remake of the Roy Hawkins tune, The Thrill Is Gone, which became a hit on both pop and rhythm and blues charts, a rare feat for an R&B artist to this day. King's mainstream success continued throughout the 1970s with songs like To Know You Is To Love You and I Like To Live The Love. From 1951 to 1985, King appeared on Billboard's R&B charts an amazing 74 times. B.B. continues to record to this day, recording both compilations of classic songs with other top artists, and new collaborative material with artists like Eric Clapton. In 2010, at age 85, he continues to tour, pleasing crowds around the world.