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B.B. King

Date: Feb 06 2001


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

B.B. King (a.k.a. Riley B. King) is considered
by most to be “the King of the Blues.” He has
been one of the most preeminent icons of
that music genre. Since his first recording in
the late 1940’s he has made over 50 albums,
most of which are considered to be some of
the best in Blues history. In the 60’s and 70’s
he moved the Blues from an obscure
African-American tradition into the American
mainstream. Today Blues is a mainstay at any
music festival and has heavily influenced
many other musical traditions including Soul,
R&B, Rap, Rock and Roll and more.


1. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.

B.B. King was born in 1925 on a cotton
plantation in Indianola, Mississippi. As a child he would play in the street for
change before hitchhiking to Memphis, Tennessee in 1947 to become a
musician. His first big break came when he landed a job as a deejay and
performer on radio station WDIA on Beale Street in West Memphis. He soon
became known as the Beale Street Blues Boy and later “B.B.”
King performed on the side in various Beale Street blues clubs with a
loose-knit group known as the Beale Streeters. King had his first hit, “Three
o’Clock Blues,” and has been touring nationally ever since. He played at
famous venues such as New York’s Apollo Theater as well as “the chitlin’
circuit” of small caf¨¦s, country dance halls, roadside joints, jazz clubs, rock
palaces, symphony concert halls, college concerts and resort hotels.
One time, at a performance in Arkansas, there was a fist fight between
several unruly fans. It resulted in a fire that burned the music hall down.
Once B.B. got outside he realized that he left his guitar inside. He raced
back in and saved it. He later found out that two men had been fighting
over a girl named Lucille. So, ever since he has named every one of his
guitars “Lucille.”


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King has a very distinctive style that emphasizes every single note and makes the guitar seem to cry. His style has influenced musicians like Eric
Clapton, George Harrison and Jeff Beck, ever since.
B.B. King has made appearances on TV shows, commercials, movies and at
awards shows. He has won too many awards to count and was inducted
into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
1996 Blues All Around Me by B.B. King with David Ritz (Avon)
1980 The Arrival of B.B. King: the Authorized Biography by Charles Sawyer
Official Site:
- Migs


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