- Faith & Family
He once called himself the Beale Street Blues Boy, shortened it to Blue Boy King and eventually took on the moniker of B.B. King. Now the 86-year-old “King of the Blues” is coming to Miami with his Gibson guitar, “Lucille,” hit songs like “Paying the Cost to be the Boss,” “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “The Thrill is Gone “ — his most popular crossover hit — and a showmanship that continue to draw record-breaking crowds no matter where he performs. Despite being just a few years away from 90, King still performs four or five nights a week.
B.B. King grew up in Mississippi as a sharecropper and learned how to play gospel music on the guitar when he was teenager. In the late 1940s he turned to playing blues and moved to Memphis where he hoped to start his career. He and his band persevered, doing hundreds of shows a year and building a fan base — albeit with only moderate success. He finally achieved breakthrough success in the last 1960s when white audiences began to discover how important the blues were to the development of rock and roll.
B. B. King is a singer-songwriter that has recorded more than 50 albums, won 13 Grammys, been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is ranked No. 3 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” He has inspired other guitarists of note including: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughn.
King makes his Arsht Center debut on Wednesday, Jan. 4 in the Concert Hall. The show begins at 8 p.m. and is the second concert of the 2011-2012 Knight Masterworks Season Pops Series.
“The sounds of King’s guitar distinguish him as the one and only B.B.” said M. John Richard, president and CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center. “Forever he will be the giant of jazz blues that we all love.”
By D. Kevin McNeir