BB King , born Riley B. King , (* 16th September 1925 in Berclair , Mississippi ; † 14. May 2015 in Las Vegas , Nevada ) was one of the most influential blues - guitarist and singer and one of the "Three Kings of the electrical Blues ”, alongside Albert King and Freddie King . He influenced generations of rock and blues musicians. His records were awarded a total of 15 Grammys . The "B. B. “in his name stands for Blues Boy , which is an abbreviation of Beale Street Blues Boy , his pseudonym as a presenter on the radio station WDIA .
Childhood and youth
B. B. King was born as Riley Benjamin King in the hamlet of Berclair, Mississippi, to the farmer Albert King and his wife Nora Ella King. When he was four years old, his parents separated and he grew up in Kilmichael with his maternal grandparents. When he was nine years old, his mother died. In 1940 he moved to Lexington to live with his father for two years . He then returned to Kilmichael, then moved on to Indianola and finally landed in Memphis in 1946 .
As a child and teenager he sang gospel music , but was also enthusiastic about blues musicians such as Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson , whose music he heard on his aunt's shellac records. His other role models included the blues guitarist T-Bone Walker , but also jazz musicians like Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt .
In Memphis, B. B. King met a distant relative of his mother, the blues musician Bukka White , who found him a job as a welder. Together with Walter Horton , King eventually formed a blues duo and together they performed in juke joints and parks. However, after eight months in Memphis, King returned to Indianola . He had doubts about his instrumental ability because, in his opinion, there were better musicians in Memphis.
Nevertheless, he returned to Memphis in late 1948 and met the guitarist Robert Lockwood in West Memphis , with whose help he was able to improve his guitar playing significantly. In early 1949 he met Sonny Boy Williamson II , who allowed him to sing a piece on his radio show on KWEM. A short time later, King found out about the radio station WDIA through Bukka White . In April 1949 he got his own, Lucky Strike sponsored 15-minute show there, in which he played live. The following year he took over the Sepia Swing Club on WDIA as a DJ . Now he had access to thousands of records, which he listened to intensely and tried to replay.
B. B. King made his first recordings in 1949 for Bullet Records in Nashville . However, the two resulting singles sold very poorly and gave no impetus to his musical career. During a visit to the radio station WDIA in June 1950, the brothers Jules and Saul Bihari heard about B. B. King and were so enthusiastic that they signed him for their sub-label RPM. Modern Records , based in Los Angeles, was one of the leading independent record labels in the field of jazz and blues at the time, but did not have its own recording studio in Memphis. Therefore the first recording sessions with B. B. King for RPM took place in the then new studio of Sam Phillips .
King's band at the time consisted of Richard Sanders (saxophone), Johnny Ace (piano), a bassist named Wiley and Earl Forest (drums). These early recordings were innovative but not very successful commercially.
After the Biharis had a falling out with Sam Phillips on business in mid-1951, the recording session took place at the YMCA with a portable recording device in September 1951 that produced B. B. King's first hit 3 o'Clock Blues (RPM # 339) Number one hit on the R&B charts kept. Due to the great success of the single, a tour with Tiny Bradshaw's orchestra followed. A little later, King joined the saxophonist Bill Harvey's band, which remained his tour band until 1955.
In 1952 and 1953, respectively, B. B. King had two further number 1 R&B hits with You Know I Love You and Please Love Me , which gave his career a decisive boost. On April 24, 1954, his picture graced the front page of Cashbox magazine. A month later he made his debut with Bill Harvey's Orchestra at the Apollo Theater in Harlem . Under the producer Johnny Pate was on August 18 and 19, 1954 in the old Capitol Studios (Los Angeles, Melrose Avenue) with the line- up BB King (vocals / guitar), Millard Lee (piano), Floyd Newman (saxophone) and Kenny Sands (trumpet) recorded the blues classic Everyday I Have the Blues . In December 1954, Everyday I Have the Blues / Sneakin 'Around (RPM # 421) was released, which reached number 8 on the R&B charts . After it was released, Billboard reported high record sales that totaled over 4 million copies over the years. This made Everyday I Have the Blues one of the best-selling blues songs of all time.
A West Coast tour followed in December 1954. B. B. King had now risen to become a national star, completely devoted to the blues and hardly interested in the already looming rock 'n' roll revolution.
Across the United States
In early 1955, King broke up because of business differences with Bill Harvey and his manager, Morris Merritt. Without further ado he put together a new band, the B. B. King Revue, under the direction of Millard Lee. It initially consisted of Calvin Owens and Kenneth Sands (trumpets), Lawrence Burdine (alto saxophone), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Floyd Newman (baritone saxophone), Millard Lee (piano), George Joyner (bass) and Earl Forest and Ted Curry (drums ). Onzie Horne, a trained musician, became King's arranger and helped him to implement his musical ideas.
This was followed by further tours across the United States with appearances in the big theaters (e.g. in Washington, DC , Chicago , Los Angeles , Detroit and St. Louis ) as well as numerous gigs in smaller clubs and juke joints in the southern states . King has since toured the entire Chitlin 'Circuit and in 1956 was fully booked with 342 concerts.
In the same year he founded his own record label Blues Boys Kingdom based on Beale Street in Memphis. There he produced artists such as Millard Lee and Levi Seabury, among others. The record company finally failed because King had to fulfill his obligations as a musician and did not have the time (and also not the skills) to manage a company. B. B. King made his recordings almost exclusively in the Modern Studio in Los Angeles with musicians under the direction of Maxwell Davis .
Blues and pop
The advent of rock 'n' roll led to an enormous loss of popularity of the blues in African American society as early as the mid-1950s. Although King still had hits, the year 1957 marked the beginning of a quieter phase of his career. To counter King's loss of popularity, the Biharis tried to push him into the field of pop music. At that time he covered Tennessee Ernie Ford's Sixteen Tons and also recorded the song Bim Bam . Further attempts with pop ballads also failed and did not bring back the commercial success of earlier days. After a brief interlude with Chess Records , the Biharis extended King's contract in 1958 - a sign that they were still betting on him. From then on, B. B. Kings Singles appeared on the newly founded Kent Records sub-label .
At the beginning of the 1960s, B. B. King was one of the few blues musicians who were still regularly represented in the R&B charts. In the spring of 1960 he even landed another No. 2 hit in the R&B charts with his interpretation of the Big Joe Turner classic Sweet Sixteen . While other blues musicians such as Muddy Waters or John Lee Hooker found a new, mainly white audience as a result of the folk music boom, B. B. King remained loyal to his traditional audience. Instead of recording a trendy folk blues album, he continued to perform with his 13-member band in centers of African American culture such as the Apollo Theater in Harlem . His records were hardly available in Europe as the Bihari brothers had a hard time licensing their catalog.
However, B. B. King now had good reasons to leave Modern Records. Since the Biharis released their albums on the cheap sub-label Crown Records for 99 cents each, these LPs mostly ended up in the junk crates of the shops and were completely ignored by Billboard Magazine . As a result, these albums (twelve pieces between 1957 and 1963) found no recognition in the general public. In addition, the Biharis claimed up to three quarters of the royalties from the proceeds of King's records; they had added their own pseudonyms such as Jules Taub , Joe Josea or Sam Ling to the composer information (usually King) . This illegal practice of the cut in and the label's release policy led to B. B. King turning his back on Modern Records and, on the advice of his musician colleagues Lloyd Price and Fats Domino , signing a contract with the then major label ABC-Paramount in January 1962 .
Live at the shelf
At first his new record company did not know exactly which direction his musical career would take. The label's other two R&B stars, Ray Charles and Lloyd Price , had already found niches in the broad space between pop and R&B. But B. B. King was a pure blues musician; a move to the pop or soul camp seemed impossible. After a few singles and two albums produced by Johnny Pate , ABC-Paramount released the album Live at the Regal in 1965 , which was a surprise success. Recorded at Chicago's Regal Theater on November 21, 1964, it presented a very lively and rousing performance by King in front of an African American audience.
Since his departure from Modern Records, the Bihari brothers had brought out further King titles from their archive parallel to the ABC releases, some with considerable success. Rock Me Baby - released as a single on the Kent label in the summer of 1964 - made it to number 34 on the US pop charts. Spurred on by the success of Live at the Regal , a flood of other releases followed on the Kent label. To the confusion of the fans, in addition to previously unreleased archive titles, there were also old titles that were attempted to be wrapped in a new, modern guise by overdubbing.
The Thrill Is Gone
Around 1966/67, B. B. King noticed that the composition of his audience was slowly changing. While the African-American youth distanced themselves from the blues, suddenly more and more white youth became interested in his music and attended his concerts. The book Urban Blues by Charles Keil, published at the time, contains a chapter on B. B. King and was a pioneering work. In 1967 Sidney Seidenberg King became the new manager. His main goal was to make B. B. King accessible to a wider audience with a new concept.
From then on he also appeared at rock festivals and in centers of hippie culture - such as the Fillmore West . Although he had a few hits on the ABC sub-label Bluesway Records under Seidenberg's management, it took almost another three years for the concept to fully materialize and B. B. King's biggest hit to date with The Thrill Is Gone (number 15 in the US pop charts) could land. In 1969 B. B. King played alongside Ike & Tina Turner on the Rolling Stones' US tour in the opening act. The following year he was the first blues musician to appear on The Tonight Show , and in October 1970 he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show .
After the success of The Thrill Is Gone , B. B. King recorded the album Indianola Mississippi Seeds with white rock musicians such as Carole King and Leon Russell in 1970 . This was an idea of his producer Bill Szymezyk. Overall, the album sounded softer and softer than its previous releases and contained three hit singles with Chains and Things , Ask Me No Question and Hummingbird . In 1971 B. B. King recorded the album In London in London with British guest musicians such as Alexis Korner , Peter Green , Steve Winwood and others . Here he played an acoustic guitar for the first time since 1946 with a track.
In 1972 B. B. King took part in a concert, after which he said: "That was the best concert I have ever given." Two documentary filmmakers had started a film project with inmates of Sing Sing , New York's great prison and accompanied it for a year ( Sing Sing Thanksgiving ). This prison concert for American Thanksgiving was planned as a final project, to which many artists were invited, but only a few had accepted. The musicians were The Voices of East Harlem , Joan Baez and B. B. King.
The following year he played the album To Know You Is to Love You in Philadelphia . It was heavily influenced by the soul music of those days. King was accompanied by the Memphis Horns and, on the title track, by Stevie Wonder .
Before the boxing match for the world title between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in the stadium of Kinshasa , Zaire, in October 1974 (" Rumble in the Jungle ") B. B. King performed with his band. The concert was released on DVD.
With U2 he recorded the song When Love Comes to Town for their album Rattle and Hum . In addition, B. B. King took part in the subsequent "Lovetown" tour in 1989. In 2000 he produced the album Riding with the King with Eric Clapton . King once said of his jazz colleagues Dizzy Gillespie , Miles Davis and Charlie Parker : “What they do is simply beyond my horizon”.
King owned several blues clubs in the United States, including Beale Street in Memphis , Tennessee , New Orleans, and Nashville, where he occasionally performed. Merchandising items such as barbecue accessories and guitar strings are also marketed under his name . He regularly went on extensive tours and played over 200 concerts a year. From 2004 B. B. King, who had been on the road almost continuously for over 60 years, appeared less often due to age and health reasons. In summer 2005 he undertook a “Final Farewell Tour” through Europe. But also in 2006 he performed in the United States and again in Europe, followed by another European tour in 2009.
In the 1980s he appeared like many other stars on the hit Bill Cosby Show , in the episode The Marriage Blues .
B. B. King played a Gibson guitar model, which he nicknamed "Lucille" from the 1950s on. The reason for this was an experience he had in 1949 in a music club in the US state of Arkansas : a fire broke out at a concert. The already fled King ran back to save his guitar. When he learned that the fire started when two men had argued over a woman named Lucille, he named the guitar after her. That should remind him never to do anything like this again.
A special feature of the design of Kings Gibson ES-335 guitar is that it is semi-resonant , but has no characteristic F-holes . The model also has an advanced tone control called the Varitone rotary switch. Since 1999, B. B. King also promoted another Gibson designed model, the Little Lucille .
King once told the press: "Aside from real sex with a real woman, there is nothing that gives me such inner peace as Lucille." He is said to have owned a total of sixteen copies of the guitar model. Some of his guitars are also on display at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
The Life of Riley
In May 2013, the documentary film The Life of Riley ( Great Britain , 2012, 119 min.) By director Jon Brewer was released in a subtitles version in German cinemas, which is dedicated to King's life and refers to his real first name in the title. King's life story is told by Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, and alongside King himself, contemporary witnesses and fellow musicians such as Bonnie Raitt , Eric Clapton , Buddy Guy , Bono , Carlos Santana and Mick Jagger have their say.
Sickness and death
As reported by his daughter and his manager, King died on May 14, 2015 of complications from a long history of diabetes at the age of 89 after being hospitalized in Las Vegas after being dehydrated . A few days after King's death, two of his daughters voiced suspicion that King had been poisoned by his managers, and an investigation was initiated. These revealed that King died of natural causes. B. B. King was buried on the grounds of his museum in Indianola , Mississippi .
King was married twice. From 1946 to 1952 with Martha Lee Denton and from 1958 to 1966 with Sue Carol Hall. He had 15 children with various other partners.
Prizes and awards
In 1980 B. B. King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame , and in 1987 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame . In 1990 he was honored with the National Medal of Arts and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 21 at 6771 Hollywood Blvd. In 1995 he received the Kennedy Prize . In 2004 he received the unofficial "Nobel Prize for Music", the Polar Music Prize . In 2006 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom , the highest civil honor in the United States. In 2008, the B. B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center opened in his hometown of Indianola, with an exhibition showing B. B. King's career steps. In the same year he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences .
The Rolling Stone Magazine lists him at number six of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time . In a list from 2003 he was ranked third. In the list of the 100 best singers of all time , he was voted number 96. In 2014 he was inducted into the Down Beat Hall of Fame.
In 2019 he was honored by the search engine Google with a doodle in the form of a musical video clip about his life.
Album discography (selection)
This selection discography only takes into account official releases from B. B. King's respective record labels. Since the listed original albums are partly rare today, information is given on possible CD re-releases.
Year of admission
|CD / LP re-releases
|Singin 'the blues||Crown CLP 5020||1957||1951-1955||Ace CDCHM 1041 (+ bonus tracks)|
|The blues||Crown CLP 5063||1958||1951-1958||Ace CDCHM 1084 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Wails||Crown CLP 5115||1959||1959||Ace CDCHM 882 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Sings Spirituals||Crown CLP 5119||1959||1959||Ace CDCHM 1093 (+ bonus tracks)|
|The Great BB King||Crown CLP 5143||1960||1952-1959||Ace CDCHM 1049 (+ bonus tracks)|
|King of the Blues||Crown CLP 5167||1960||1960||Ace CDCHM 897 (+ bonus tracks)|
|My kind of blues||Crown CLP 5188||1960||1960||Ace CDCHM 881 (+ bonus tracks)|
|More BB King||Crown CLP 5230||1961||1954-1961||Ace CDCHM 1034 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Twist with BB King||Crown CLP 5248||1962||1952-1961|
|Easy listening blues||Crown CLP 5286||1962||1961||Ace CDCHM 1011 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Blues in My Heart||Crown CLP 5309||1963||1962||Ace CDCHM 996 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Mr. Blues||ABC Paramount 456||1963||1962-1963||Hip-O Select 6659; Beat Goes On BGOCD 602 (+ Confessin 'the Blues )|
|BB King (aka The Soul of B. B. King)||Crown CLP 5359||1963||1952-1961||Ace CDCHM 986 (+ bonus tracks)|
|Rock me baby||Kent KST 512||1964||1951-1962|
|Let me love you baby||Kent KST 513||1964||1954-1952|
|Live at the shelf||ABC Paramount 509||1965||1964, live||MCA MCD / MCAD 11646|
|Live on stage||Kent KST 515||1965||1951–1962 (studio!)|
|Confessin 'the Blues||ABC Paramount 528||1965||1965||Beat Goes On BGOCD 602 (+ Mr. Blues )|
|The jungle||Kent KST 521||1967||1956-1965||Ace CDHP 031|
|Blues is King||Bluesway BLS 6001||1967||1966, live||MCA MCAD 31368; See For Miles SEECD 216 (+ bonus track)|
|Boss of the Blues||Kent KST 529||1968||1955-1959|
|Blues on top of blues||Bluesway BLS 6011||1968||1967||Beat Goes On BGOCD 69|
|Lucille||Bluesway BLS 6016||1968||1967||MCA MCAD 10518; Beat Goes On BGOCD 36|
|His Best - The Electric B. B. King||Bluesway BLS 6022||1969||1965-1968||MCA MCAD 27007; MCA MCAD 11767 (+ bonus tracks); Beat Goes On BGOCD 37|
|From the beginning||Kent KST 2-533||1969||1951-1965|
|Anthology of the Blues||Kent KST 9011||1969||1950-1954||Re-released as Original Folk Blues|
|Live and Well||Bluesway BLS 6031||1969||1969, live + studio||MCA MCAD 31191; as LP: Bear Family BAF 18013|
|Completely Well||Bluesway BLS 6037||1969||1969||MCA MCD / MCAD 11768; Beat Goes On BGOCD 602 (+ Live in Cook County Jail ); as LP: Bear Family BAF 18015|
|The Incredible Soul of B. B. King||Kent KST 539||1970||1955-1959|
|Indianola Mississippi Seeds||ABC 713||1970||1970||MCA MCAD 31343|
|Turn On to B. B. King||Kent KST 548||1971||1955-1962||Re-released as Turn on with BB King|
|The Greatest Hits, Vol. 1||Kent KST 552||1971||1952-1965|
|Live in Cook County Jail||ABC 723||1971||1970, live||MCA MCAD 11769; Beat Goes On BGOCD 602 (+ Completely Well )|
|In London||ABC 730||1971||1971||MCA MCD 18223; MCA MCAD 10843; Beat Goes On BGOCD 42|
|King of the Blues, B. B. King Comes to Japan||ABC GW 131/2, Japan||1971||1971, live||MCA MCAD 11810 (CD Title: Live in Japan )|
|LA Midnight||ABC 743||1972||1971|
|Guess Who||ABC 759||1972||1972||Beat Goes On BGO CD 71|
|To know you is to love you||ABC 794||1973||1973||with Stevie Wonder|
|Friends||ABC 825||1974||1974||Beat Goes On BGOCD 125|
|Together for the first time ... Live||Dunhill DSY 50190||1974||1974, live||Beat Goes On BGOCD 161 (with Bobby Bland )|
|Lucille Talks Back||ABC 898||1975||1975|
|Together Again… Live||Impulse ASD 9317||1976||1976, live||MCA MCAD 27012 (with Bobby Bland )|
|Midnight Believer||ABC AA 1061||1978||1977||MCA CD 27011; Beat Goes On BGOCD 604 (+ Take It Home )|
|Take It Home||MCA 3151||1979||1978/79||MCA MCAD 11770; Beat Goes On BGOCD 604 (+ Midnight Believer )|
|Now Appearing at Ole Miss||MCA 2-8016||1980||1979, live||MCA MCAD 8016|
|There Must Be a Better World Somewhere||MCA 5162||1981||1980||MCA CD 2734; Beat Goes On BGOCD 124|
|Live in London||Crusader CRP 16013||1981, live|
|The Crusaders with B. B. King||MCA 2-8017||1981, live|
|Love Me Tender||MCA 5307||1982||1982|
|Blues 'n' Jazz||MCA 5413||1983||1982||MCA CD 27119|
|Six Silver Strings||MCA 5616||1985||1984||MCA CD 5616|
|The King of the Blues 1989||MCA 42183||1989||1988||MCA CD 42183|
|Live at San Quentin||MCA 6455||1990||1990, live||MCA MCAD 6455; MCA MCAD 112517|
|BB King & Sons, Live||Invitation CD VICL 103, Japan||1990||1990, live|
|Live at The Apollo||GRP 9637||1990||1990, live||GRP CD 9637|
|There is always one more time||MCA 10295||1991||1991||MCA CD 10295|
|King of the Blues||MCAD4 10677||1992||1949-1992||4-CD box|
|Blues Summit||MCA MCAD 10710||1993||Duets with Robert Cray , Buddy Guy , John Lee Hooker , Koko Taylor , Etta James , Lowell Fulson , Albert Collins , Ruth Brown , Irma Thomas , Joe Louis Walker|
|Lucille & Friends||MCA MCD 33008||1995||Guests u. a. U2 ; Robert Cray, Stevie Wonder , Grover Washington Jr. , Vernon Reid , John Lee Hooker , Gary Moore|
|Deuces Wild||MCA MCAD 11711||1997||Guests u. a. Van Morrison ; Tracy Chapman , Eric Clapton , Bonnie Raitt , Joe Cocker , The Rolling Stones , Willie Nelson|
|Blues on the Bayou||MCA MCAD 11879||1998|
|Let The Good Times Roll||MCA MCAD 12042||1999||with Dr. John|
|Riding with the King||Recapitulation 47612 2||2000||with Eric Clapton|
|Makin 'Love Is Good for You||MCA MCAD 12241||2000|
|A Christmas Celebration of Hope||MCA MCAD 112756||2001|
|80||Geffen 526 302 2||2005||u. a. with Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons , Mark Knopfler , Van Morrison, Roger Daltrey , Gloria Estefan , Bobby Bland|
|One Kind Favor||Geffen||2008|
|Live at the Royal Albert Hall 2011||Shout Factory 0602527958354||2011||u. a. with Derek Trucks , Susan Tedeschi , Ron Wood , Mick Hucknall , Slash|
|Ladies & Gentlemen ... Mr. B. B. King||Universal||2012||1949-2008||Werkschau, available as 4 and 10 CD editions; PdSK best list 1/2013|
|The Life of Riley||Universal||2012||Soundtrack to the biopic of the same name , available as a 1 or 2 CD edition|
BB King on DVD
The year numbers refer to the year the DVD was released.
- Crossroads - Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2013 (2013)
- Crossroads - Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2010 (2010)
- Memphis Blues Session (2009)
- Live in Africa '74 (2009)
- B. B. King & James Brown - One Special Night (2009)
- Live (2008)
- At Sing Sing Prison (2008)
- Blues Summit Concert (2008)
- B. B. King & the Guitar Legends - In Sevilla, Spain (2008) with Albert Collins , Robert Cray , Dave Edmunds , Steve Cropper and Bo Diddley
- Standing Room Only (2007)
- Crossroads - Eric Clapton Guitar Festival 2007 (2007)
- Joan Baez & B. B. King - I Shall Be Released: In Concert (2006)
- Live (2006)
- The Thrill Is Gone (2006)
- B. B. King & Friends - A Night Of Blistering Blues (2005) with Phil Collins , Chaka Khan , Gladys Knight , Paul Butterfield , Stevie Ray Vaughan , Albert King , Etta James , Dr. John et al. a.
- B. B. King & Joan Baez - Live at "Sing Sing" (2004)
- Living Legend (2004)
- Black Blues Experience (2004)
- Sweet 16 (2004)
- The Blues Sounds of BB King (2004)
- Crossroads Guitar Festival 2004 (2004)
- In Concert (2003)
- Live By Request (2003)
- Live at Nicks (2002)
- Live at Montreux 1993 (2009)
Awards for music sales
|Country / Region||silver||gold||platinum||Sales||swell|
|Awards for music sales
(country / region, awards, sales, sources)
|Hong Kong (IFPI / HKRIA)||-||gold1||-||10,000||Individual evidence|
|Italy (FIMI)||-||-||platinum1||100,000||Individual evidence|
|Canada (MC)||-||-||2 × platinum2||200,000||musiccanada.com|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||-||gold1||platinum1||22,500||nztop40.co.nz|
|Austria (IFPI)||-||2 × gold2||-||50,000||ifpi.at|
|Spain (Promusicae)||-||2 × gold2||-||100,000||promusicae.es|
|United States (RIAA)||-||3 × gold3||3 × platinum3||4,500,000||riaa.com|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||silver1||gold1||-||160,000||bpi.co.uk|
|All in all||silver1||16 × gold16||11 × platinum11|
- John Broven: BB King's Record Company . In: BB King - The Vintage Years . 2002 (text booklet for Ace ABOXCD 8).
- Colin Escott: The Blues, Every Day . In: BB King - The Vintage Years . 2002 (text booklet for Ace ABOXCD 8).
- Les Fancourt: BB King, Albert & Freddy - A Discography . Retrack Books, 1993.
- Les Fancourt, Bob McGrath: The Blues Discography 1943-1970. Eyeball Productions, 2006, ISBN 0-9686445-7-0 .
- B. B. King, David Ritz: Blues all around me - The Autobiography Of BB King . Avon Books, New York 1996, ISBN 0-380-97318-9 .
- Charles Sawyer: BB King - The Authorized Biography . Quartet Books, 1982, ISBN 0-7043-3415-1 .
- Official Website of BB King (English)
- Literature by and about BB King in the catalog of the German National Library
- BB King at the Internet Movie Database (English)
- German fan page
- B. B. King: Biography. ( Memento from April 2, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) The Verve Music Group . The abbreviation “B.” does not stand for a middle name and has no special meaning.
- Tim Weiner : B. B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generations, Dies at 89. The New York Times , May 15, 2015, accessed May 27, 2015 .
- The Thrill is Gone. Obituary for WDR 3. (No longer available online.) In: WDR.de. May 15, 2015, archived from the original on July 18, 2015 ; Retrieved June 3, 2015 .
- BB is usually written with periods but no spaces; occasionally the spelling BB King is also found.
- Thomas E. Larson: History of Rock & Roll . Kendall / Hunt Publishing, Dubuque IA 2004, p. 25 (English).
- Christian Graf: Rock Music Lexicon America . Taurus Press, 1989, Volume 1, p. 548.
- Encyclopedia of the Blues in Google Book Search
- For these recordings see: Escott, Colin / Hawkins, Martin: Good Rockin 'Tonight. Sun Records and the Birth of Rock 'n' Roll . St. Martin's Press, New York City 1991, pp. 21-23.
- This Week's Best Buys . In: Billboard , Jan. 1, 1955, p. 31 .
- Joseph Murrells: Million Selling Records , 1985, p. 90.
- Blues legend B. B. King . In: Guitar & Bass , 9/2009, p. 36 ff., ; interview
- The halting rise of poor B. B. In: FAZ , May 7, 2013, p. 29.
- He was the "King of the Blues" - B. B. King is dead. Obituary in Focus. In: Focus Online . May 15, 2015, accessed June 3, 2015 .
- Murder allegations against management: Police want to investigate the death of B. B. King. In: Spiegel Online . May 26, 2015, accessed June 3, 2015 .
- Murder investigation closed: B. B. King died of natural causes. In: Spiegel Online . July 14, 2015, accessed July 14, 2015 .
- Blues: 17 guitars, 15 children . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 1998 ( online ).
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame B. B. King in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- B. B. King Museum, Indianola ( Memento of February 6, 2010 in the Internet Archive ).
- 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 18, 2015, accessed August 8, 2017 .
- B. B. King. rollingstone.com; accessed on January 4, 2011.
- 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Rolling Stone , December 2, 2010, accessed August 8, 2017 .
- BB King: Google is celebrating the 94th birthday of the blues legend with a video doodle - that's how it came about - GWB. In: GoogleWatchBlog. September 15, 2019, accessed on September 15, 2019 (German).
- Best list 1-2013 - Blues and blues related: B. B. King: Ladies & Gentlemen… Mr. B. B. King. 10 CD edition. In: schallplattenkritik.de. February 15, 2013, accessed June 3, 2015 .
- Gold for Riding with the King in Hong Kong ( Memento of November 4, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
- Gold for Makin 'Love is Good For You in Austria ( Memento from December 1, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
- Gold for Singin 'the Blues in the United States ( Memento of November 4, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
- Platinum for Riding with the King in Italy ( Memento from November 4, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
- Platinum for Riding with the King in Japan ( Memento from December 1, 2019 in the Internet Archive )
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||King, Riley B. (maiden name)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||American blues musician|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 16, 1925|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Berclair , Mississippi|
|DATE OF DEATH||May 14, 2015|
|Place of death||Las Vegas , Nevada|