B.B. King

Easton Press B.B. King books

Blues All Around Me - signed first edition - 1996

Musician Guitarist B.B. King

B.B. King, born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925, near Itta Bena, Mississippi, was an iconic American blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Widely regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time, King left an indelible mark on the world of music with his distinctive guitar playing, soulful vocals, and profound influence on the blues genre. Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, King was exposed to the rich musical traditions of the region from an early age. He began playing guitar and singing in church as a child, and by his teenage years, he was performing at local venues and street corners.

In the late 1940s, King moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he found work as a disc jockey and continued to hone his musical skills. It was during this time that he adopted the stage name "B.B. King," a moniker that would become synonymous with blues music. King's big break came in 1949 when he signed with the iconic blues record label RPM Records and released his first hit single, Three O'Clock Blues. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, King enjoyed a string of successful recordings and became one of the most popular and influential blues musicians in the world. Known for his virtuosic guitar playing and expressive singing style, King developed a unique sound that blended traditional blues with elements of jazz, gospel, and R&B. His soulful voice and emotive guitar solos resonated with audiences of all backgrounds, earning him a legion of devoted fans and critical acclaim.

In addition to his musical talent, King was also known for his warm personality, humility, and generosity. He was a tireless performer, touring extensively and playing hundreds of shows each year well into his later years. Over the course of his career, King received numerous awards and accolades, including multiple Grammy Awards, inductions into the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He was also named one of Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. B.B. King passed away on May 14, 2015, but his legacy as a pioneering blues musician and cultural icon lives on. His influence can be heard in the work of countless musicians across genres, and his impact on the world of music continues to be felt to this day.

Blues All Around Me

Published in 1996, Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B.B. King offers readers a firsthand account of the life and career of one of the most iconic figures in the history of blues music. In this memoir, B.B. King shares his personal journey from humble beginnings in the Mississippi Delta to international fame and acclaim as the "King of the Blues." In Blues All Around Me, King recounts his early years growing up on a cotton plantation in Mississippi, where he was first exposed to the music of the rural South. He describes his childhood struggles and the challenges of poverty and discrimination, as well as the profound influence of the blues on his life and identity.

The book traces King's rise to prominence as a musician, from his early days playing on street corners and juke joints to his breakthrough success in the recording industry. King shares behind-the-scenes stories of his encounters with fellow musicians, record producers, and industry executives, offering readers a glimpse into the world of blues music during the mid-20th century. Blues All Around Me also delves into the personal struggles and triumphs of B.B. King's life, including his battles with racism, addiction, and health issues. King reflects on the highs and lows of his career, the impact of fame on his personal relationships, and the enduring legacy of his music.

Throughout the memoir, King's voice shines through with warmth, humor, and authenticity, as he shares his love for the blues and his deep appreciation for the people and places that shaped him as an artist and a man. Blues All Around Me is praised for its candidness, insight, and storytelling prowess. It offers fans of B.B. King and blues music alike a captivating and inspiring account of one of the most influential figures in the history of American music.

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