The greatest ambassador the blues has ever known, Riley "B.B." King is also one of its most prolific performers. A singer-guitarist who was born in Mississippi, who made his mark in Memphis, and who has crisscrossed America and the world more times than he can recall, King personifies the indefatigable aspect of the blues. King's single-string guitar solos burn holes through melodies. He sings every note with gusto and power, and as a bandleader, is beyond reproach. Always tight, with blazing horns and an adroit rhythm section, King's bands can swing, get down and dirty, and rock furiously - all within a span of just a few songs. King's recording career began in 1949, but it wasn't until two years later that he cut his first signature number. Written by Lowell Fulson, "Three O'Clock Blues" made it to Number One on Billboard Magazine's Rhythm & Blues charts. King demonstrated his mastery of the slow blues burn on the song, soaking the lyrics with heartache, using guitar licks to accent the wrenching pain of love lost. Buoyed by the success of "Three O'Clock Blues," King went on to perhaps the greatest career in the history of the blues, playing more than 300 dates a year for decades, recording dozens of albums, and making sure the blues got its respect in the American music tradition.
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