Enid Coyne

Enid Coyne

Modified & Updated: 07 Oct 2023

Source: Latimes.com

Known as the “King of the Blues,” B.B. King was one of the most influential and revered musicians of the 20th century. His soulful voice and distinctive guitar playing style captivated audiences around the world. Beyond his musical talents, B.B. King was a fascinating individual with a rich and intriguing life. In this article, we will uncover 16 facts about the legendary B.B. King that showcase both his remarkable career and his personal journey. From his humble beginnings in Mississippi to his groundbreaking achievements in the music industry, B.B. King’s story is one of perseverance, passion, and undeniable talent. So, grab your guitar and get ready to delve into the life of the one and only B.B. King.

Table of Contents

Bb King was born on September 16, 1925.

Known as the “King of the Blues,” Bb King was born as Riley B. King in a small town in Mississippi.

His guitar was named Lucille.

Bb King named his guitar Lucille after an incident in which a venue caught fire during a performance. He risked his life to save his guitar, and ever since then, he named every guitar he owned Lucille.

Bb King toured extensively and performed in over 90 countries.

Throughout his career spanning more than six decades, Bb King traveled the world, spreading the joy of the blues genre to audiences worldwide.

He recorded over 50 albums.

Bb King’s discography includes more than 50 albums, including classics like “Live at the Regal” and “Completely Well.”

He won 15 Grammy Awards.

Recognized for his outstanding contributions to music, Bb King received a total of 15 Grammy Awards over his lifetime.

Bb King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

In 1987, Bb King was honored with induction into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his immense impact on the music industry.

He performed alongside many famous musicians.

Bb King collaborated and shared the stage with legendary artists such as Eric Clapton, U2, and Bonnie Raitt, among others.

Bb King received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 2006, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor bestowed on civilians in the United States.

He played his guitar left-handed but with the strings tuned for right-handed playing.

Interestingly, Bb King was left-handed but played a standard right-handed guitar. He simply flipped the guitar and played it upside down.

Bb King’s music influenced numerous artists.

His unique guitar playing style and soulful voice inspired countless musicians across various genres, leaving an enduring impact on the music industry.

He was known for his signature vibrato guitar technique.

Bb King’s distinctive playing style included his renowned vibrato, which added an expressive and emotional quality to his guitar solos.

Bb King was a dedicated philanthropist.

Outside of his music career, Bb King was actively involved in various charitable endeavors, supporting education and helping those in need.

He was awarded honorary doctorates from prestigious universities.

In recognition of his contributions to music and culture, Bb King received several honorary degrees, including ones from Yale University and Berklee College of Music.

Bb King’s autobiography was titled “The Bb King Blues Boy.”

In his autobiography, Bb King shared his life experiences, the challenges he faced, and how he rose to become one of the most influential musicians of all time.

He continued performing even in his 80s.

Bb King remained dedicated to his passion for performing live and continued touring well into his 80s, showcasing his timeless talent and love for the blues.

Bb King passed away on May 14, 2015.

The world mourned the loss of a true legend when Bb King passed away, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that will forever be cherished by music lovers.

These are just some of the incredible facts about Bb King, a music icon and one of the most influential figures in the history of blues. His unmatched talent, soulful voice, and captivating guitar melodies have left an indelible mark on the world of music. Bb King’s legacy will continue to inspire generations to come, keeping the blues alive and well.


BB King was a legendary figure in the music industry and left an indelible mark on the world of blues. Born Riley B. King on September 16, 1925, the talented guitarist and singer became known for his unique playing style and emotive voice. With a career spanning over six decades, BB King amassed a significant number of accolades and achievements.

Throughout his life, BB King was dedicated to his craft and brought blues music to a wider audience. He influenced countless musicians and became an icon in the genre. King’s impact on music cannot be overstated, and his memory continues to live on through his timeless recordings and the influence he had on future generations of musicians.


1. What are some of BB King’s most famous songs?

BB King had numerous hit songs throughout his career. Some of his most notable tracks include “The Thrill is Gone,” “Lucille,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” and “Rock Me Baby.”

2. How did BB King develop his unique guitar playing style?

BB King developed his iconic guitar style by combining elements of traditional blues with his own personal touch. He was known for his smooth vibrato, precise bending of notes, and soulful phrasing.

3. What awards did BB King receive during his lifetime?

BB King received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including 15 Grammy Awards, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

4. How did BB King’s music influence other artists?

BB King’s music had a significant impact on countless musicians across various genres. He became a touchstone for guitarists, influencing the likes of Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His emotive vocal style also inspired many singers.

5. What is BB King’s legacy?

BB King’s legacy is one of a true pioneer in the blues genre. He brought the blues to a wider audience, broke down racial barriers, and became an ambassador for the genre. His music continues to inspire and captivate music lovers around the world.