It was a sad day in the life of music, in particular Blues Music this week. We lost one of the most monumental Bluesmen of our generation, Riley Ben (B.B).King on May 14, 2015.He passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, from a series of small strokes resulting from a twenty year battle with Type-2 diabetes. Having to cancel a show mid-way through at the House of Blues in Chicago on Oct.13 2014, he was suffering from "dehydration & complete exhaustion.They soon cancelled the remainder of his eight show dates for 2014. He was rightfully elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, followed by the Rock & Roll HOF in 1987, and then the Rhythm & Blues HOF in 2014. He received several other awards and medals including the "Medal of Freedom" from Pres. G.W. Bush. He was born on a plantation just outside of Itta Bena, Ms., and grew up with the likes of Bukka White, Sonny Boy Williamson, and T-Bone Walker, as his friends and tutors. Then one fine day in 1952, his "3 O'clock Jump" shot up the charts to number one, and he never looked back.
In 1980, Gibson Guitar Co. introduced the official "Lucille" model of their #ES-335 that B.B most often played. In 2005 they made a short run of "Commemorative Lucille limited edition's" in honor of his eightieth birthday. B.B King, who took his persona for the disc jockey job he had at West Memphis radio station KWEM, called himself the "Beal Street Blues Boy" (later shortening it to just "Blues Boy").
In 2007 he performed at the Eric Clapton 2nd annual Crossroads Festival, where one of the songs he sung was "Goin' Home" a tribute to the late great Fats Domino (of "Blueberry Hill" fame), and now just short of his ninetieth birthday Sept. sixteenth, our beloved Blues Boy King IS "Goin' Home". He will be sadly missed with his broad smile and sandpaper vocals, but his memory like his songs, will last in our minds and hearts forever.