Riley B. King born in September 16, 1925 known by the stage name B.B. King abbreviation of the nickname “Blues Boy” given to him early on in his musical career. The guitarist cut his first record in 1949. He spent the next decades recording and touring, playing more than 300 shows a year. King has worked with artists from rock, pop and country backgrounds. He won his 14th Grammy Award in 2006.
In 1962, King signed with ABC Records, which released Live at the Regal, a benchmark blues concert album. In 1969 he released his biggest hit single, “The Thrill is Gone.” The first blues-man to tour the Soviet Union in 1979, by this time he had also become the first blues-man to enter the pop mainstream, making regular appearances in Las Vegas, Nevada, and on network television.
King also found great success in the collaborative work he’s done over the years, performing with names like Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Bo Diddley. In 1984, King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and, in 1987, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That same year, King received a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. King has also been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Mississippi, Yale University, and the Berklee College of Music.
Throughout his adult life, King wrestled with type 2 diabetes. The musician labored to learn all that he could about the disease and how to balance a life on the road with his diabetes care. King states that it is through constant checking and oral medications that he was able to work with his disease and maintain a successful, healthy lifestyle. King is an active member of the diabetes community, working to promote awareness and serve as a role model for people feeling trapped by their illness, stating, “I hope my voice and the things I say will encourage someone out there and help them learn the truth about diabetes and act on it.”
“Water from the white fountain didn’t taste any better than from the black fountain.”
– B.B. King