OBITUARY

Riley B "BB" King

September 16, 1925May 14, 2015
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Riley B. “B.B.” King, age 89, of Las Vegas, NV, died May 14, 2015. He was an American music icon known worldwide as a leading electric blues guitarist and singer, known as “The King of The Blues.”

King was born near Berclair, MS on Sept. 16, 1925 to sharecroppers Albert and Nora Ella King. His parents separated when he was four, and his mother took him to Kilmichael, MS to live with her mother. Riley’s mother died when he was nine and he lived with his grandmother until she died.

At age 14, he was living alone on Edwayne Henderson’s farm, share cropping an acre of cotton and living on $2.50 a month (the equivalent of $42.50 in today’s dollars). He borrowed money to buy his first guitar.

In 1947, he left the plantation for Memphis where he began his music career on Beale Street. He landed a job on WDIA Radio as a disc jockey and became known as the “Beale Street Blues Boy.” That moniker was later shortened to “Blues Boy,” then finally to “B.B.” On air, he would promote his band’s live appearances in area nightspots. He first record was recorded in Memphis.

In 1952, his first hit “Three O’Clock Blues” topped the Billboards R&B chart and his career took off. His albums came in steady succession as did his Grammy awards. In 1987, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy. He was a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1995. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2006 and the prestigious Polar Music Prize which has been called “The Nobel Prize of Music” in Sweden.

His guitar is on the current Mississippi license plate. He was an ambassador of the blues, traveling the world and greeting fans from Moscow to Beijing to Sydney.

He is survived by his sister, Modie Faye Henry; brother, W.D. Snyder; his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. B.B. King will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the world.

Services

  • Visitation Friday, May 22, 2015
  • Private Family Funeral Service Saturday, May 23, 2015
REMEMBERING

Riley B "BB" King

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Jay Whipple

November 7, 2017

Thanks for the memories Mr. King. I mention you in my book Black Charlotte From A Tour Guide's Perspective by Juan "Jay" Whipple.

Latarra Nealey

October 13, 2017

Everytime I hear Lucille playing on your songs my heart flutters... I miss you so much... I show everybody my guitar pen that I caught at summerfest.... I keep it close to me. You are the greatest... There will never be another one like you. I love you forever in my heart! I will never ever forget you.. I love you B B......

Cindy Philemon

October 11, 2017

When I be driving in my car I hear of different Famous Artist's coming to perform at BB King's Club, my heart melt because your name is still ringing in the ears of thousands of listeners. You are so loved and missed.

Your vision is so large you worked hard to make sure your name lived on beyond the grave. You left your footprints so we can follow your path any time we miss you. Thank you. You truly are the King of the Blues. I got too close too late but you will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Love always and forever,
your Sunshine, Prophetess Cindy I. Philemon

C Wm's

September 16, 2017

Dear BB King family, BB King will always be missed! We thank him for sharing his love of music with even the younger generation. Our deepest sympathy always.

Raymond Gonzalez

December 18, 2016

Laura Rodgers

August 7, 2016

Granpa King, we missed u and my husband say thank for a wonderful family reunion and my wife said thank u for met me at 8 year old at the northwest central church of Christ.
May your music live on!!

August 7, 2016

To my wonderful our Grandpa king may lord be with u and as I will always remembered u come to my church Northwest central church of Christ u wave at me with your shining wedding band i was 8 year old and smile at me I will never forget that we the Rodgers will be missed the Family Reunion. May Angels stay by your side your music live on our heart.WE love u!!!!

Valenda Newell

June 26, 2016

KING OF THE BLUES..A legend in his own right..LUCILLE (his guitar) and BB traveled the road for a many of years...your music will live on forever.....RIP MY BROTHER

Harry Simpson

May 16, 2016

Thank you for sharing a part of your life with us.

Diane Tucker

May 13, 2016

BB, I cannot believe you have been gone a year now. It just seems like yesterday you took Lucille and flew to heaven. I still listen to your music and I will always love you for your goodness and inspiration for others. Still your number one fan. Diane Tucker, widow of the great Rusty Tucker, also in heaven jamming with you.