Legendary blues guitarist BB King dies at the age of 89

King has influenced generations of musicians, across a wide range of genres. He worked with Eric Clapton, U2, Bobby Bland and John Mayer among others.

The legendary blues guitarist BB King has died in Las Vegas at the age of 89.

Known for hits such as 'The Thrill Is Gone', King has released over fifty albums, and in 1987 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He won fifteen Grammy awards, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked him amongst the top three greatest guitarists of all time.

Born in Mississippi in 1925, Riley B King was a farm worker and then radio DJ. RPM records signed him in 1949 and his musical success soon earned him the nickname ‘King of the Blues’.

His memorable tunes include 'Everyday I Have the Blues', 'Rock Me Baby' and 'Better Not Look Down' where he playfully suggests the Queen pulls up in her Rolls Royce to ask life advice! Ironically he recorded a version live at the Royal Albert Hall (with the Crusaders). 'BB King in London' became one of his  classics, coinciding with his first UK tour in 1971.

King has influenced generations of musicians, across a wide range of genres. He worked with Eric Clapton, U2, Bobby Bland and John Mayer among others. Tributes from all around the world have been shared via social media this morning, including musician Chuck Loeb who said, "RIP BB King. I saw him at The Fillmore East when I was 13 and he changed my life forever. Met him on the road a few times & he was pure class". Actor Hugh Laurie tweeted simply, "Let the sad times roll'.

Jazz FM’s Peter Young says: “His contribution to music is incalculable and his influence equally so. Most guitar legends would have to concede that it all goes back to B.B. King.”

The artist was being treated for high blood pressure and diabetes. He was admitted to hospital twice in the last month, and was in hospice care. As recently as this week, Jazz FM reported legal wrangling between members of King's family with regard to his $5 million estate.

Catchup on Blues & Boogie's tribute to BB King here.

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