I struggle with words. Never could express myself the way I wanted. My mind fights my mouth, and thoughts get stuck in my throat.
Sometimes they stay stuck for seconds or even minutes. Some thoughts stay for years; some have stayed hidden all my life.
As a child, I stuttered. What was inside couldn’t get out. I’m still not real fluent. I don’t know a lot of good words.
If I were wrongfully accused of a crime, I’d have a tough time explaining my innocence. I’d stammer and stumble and choke up until the judge would throw me in jail.
Words aren’t my friends. Music is. Sounds, notes, rhythms. I talk through music. Maybe that’s why I became a loner, someone who loves privacy and doesn’t reveal himself too easily.
My friendliness might fool you. Come into my dressing room and I’ll shake your hand, pose for a picture, make polite small talk. I’ll be as nice as I can, hoping you’ll be nice to me. I’m genuinely happy to meet you and exchange a little warmth. I have pleasant acquaintances with thousands of people the world over.
But few, if any, really know me. And that includes my own family. It’s not that they don’t want to; it’s because I keep my feelings to myself.
If you hurt me, chances are I won’t tell you. I’ll just move on. Moving on is my method of healing my hurt and, man, I’ve been moving on all my life.
The blues are a simple music, and I’m a simple man. But the blues aren’t a science; the blues can’t be broken down like mathematics.
The blues are a mystery, and mysteries are never as simple as they look.
Blues All Around Me
Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer.
King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later blues electric guitar players.
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname „The King of the Blues“, and is considered one of the „Three Kings of the Blues Guitar“ (along with Albert and Freddie King).
King performed tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing on average at more than 200 concerts per year into his 70s.
In 1956 alone, he appeared at 342 shows.
King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and later worked at a cotton gin in Indianola, Mississippi.
He was attracted to music and the guitar in church, and began his career in juke joints and local radio. He later lived in Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago, and as his fame grew, toured the world extensively.
In September 1970, King recorded Live in Cook County Jail, during a time in which issues of race and class in the prison system were prominent in politics.
King also co-founded the Foundation for the Advancement of Inmate Rehabilitation and Recreation, tying in his support for prisoners and interest in prison reform.
In addition to prison reform, King also wanted to utilize prison performances as a way to preserve music and songs in a similar way that Alan Lomax did.
In 2002, King signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underprivileged public schools throughout the United States. He sat on the organization’s Honorary Board of Directors.
In the 2000s to early 2010s, King was also involved in a diabetes awareness campaign with American Idol contestant, Crystal Bowersox, with One Touch Ultra, starring in commercials promoting diabetes health management.
King died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 14, 2015.