B.B. King’s musical career began as a child in the gospel choir of the Baptist church in Kilmichael, Mississippi, not far from Itta Bena, where he was born. The preacher taught him his first guitar chords. Years later, after working various jobs as a tractor driver while performing on the radio, the young man met T-Bone Walker. It is then on the side of Beale Street, in Memphis, that the musician blossoms, still far from the Regal Theater where he will become a true star. He met Ike Turner and Turner introduced him to a talent scout at Modern Records. He began recording in 1949 and the adventure really began for him. In the 1950s, B.B. King became a household name and had a string of hits. Songs like Please Love Me, Woke up this Morning, Darlin’ You Know I Love You and Everyday I Have the Blues made him a household name. In 1956, he gave 342 concerts and founded his own label, still on Beale Street.
In the 1960s, B.B. King was a star. Musicians who grew up with his blues are beginning to emerge. Eric Clapton in particular, says that it constitutes for him a major influence. The two six-string geniuses even recorded an album together entitled Riding with the King, released in 2000. Armed with his legendary Gibson guitar, which he named Lucille, B.B. King performed at the Regal Theatre and etched the essence of his blues into acetate. The musician’s encounter with this emblematic place sounds like an obvious choice. In the midst of the rock and roll boom, the bluesman continued his journey and received multiple tributes from new talents, always very respectful towards him. He frequently descends from his throne to collaborate with the young guard. B.B. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He remained very active in the last years of his life. On October 3, 2014, he performed at the House of Blues in Chicago but had to cancel the rest of his tour. He takes his leave on May 14, 2015.
Between 1949 and 2008, B.B. King released 138 singles.
4719 S Martin Luther King Dr
The Regal at 4719 S Martin Luther King Drive was one of the most important places in Chicago. Blues, jazz and soul music were expressed in concerts, some of which have been remembered for centuries.
The Regal opened its doors in February 1928. At the beginning, it served as a theater and concert hall as well as a movie theater. Popular thanks to its cosy decoration, it can accommodate up to 3,000 people. It was one of the first places to open its doors to African-Americans. During its forty years of existence, it hosted B.B. King, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick, James Brown and The Isley Brothers. It closed in 1968.
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Cult! music: 100 mythical music places [French Edition]
Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists!
Head to Melbourne, Australia for a stroll along AC/DC Lane before crossing the iconic Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in the company of The Beatles. Visit Janis Joplin‘s home in San Francisco and find out how Johnny Cash ended up playing his greatest hits to a crowd of prisoners in San Quentin. Travel the winding roads of Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and stop in Japan to catch up with Deep Purple, Phil Collins and Daft Punk. Drive down the Tina Turner Highway before entering some of the most legendary studios in music history. Go back to the troubled origins of Billie Holiday and make a pact with Robert Johnson at the famous crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Embark immediately on an exhilarating world tour with some of music’s most iconic bands and artists! Relive the Jimi Hendrix concert on the Isle of Wight before paying tribute to Bob Marley in Jamaica.
Produced by a team of pop-culture specialists and enhanced by numerous anecdotes, Cult! musictells the secrets of the places that made the history of music.
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By Gilles Rolland
Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.