Hailed in his lifetime as “the king of the blues,” B.B. King had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, this was one blues legend who truly lived up to the billing. He died on Thursday at the age of 89 years old.
With all the articles, books and documentaries that have examined and reexamined the hallowed history of 1960s rock ‘n’ roll, it’s still surprising that an important group like the Paul Butterfield Blues Band remains unheralded for their crucial contributions to pop music. Put bluntly, if it weren’t for the Butterfield band, both the American blues revival and Age of Aquarius would have been very different, or not occurred at all.
To most of the listening public, the name “Percy Sledge” is the answer to a trivia question: What soul singer sang the 1966 romantic classic, “When A Man Loves A Woman”? However, Sledge was a lot more than just a one-hit wonder.
While journalists and fans alike have long appropriated the description of “journeyman” as a nickname for Eric Clapton — chiefly because it was the title for Slowhand’s tacky 1989 album — the descriptor is really a better fit for Clapton’s erstwhile and largely forgotten Cream bandmate, bassist Jack Bruce.
Continuously outshone by Jack White and the White Stripes, the Ohio-based neo-blues duo the Black Keys is finally poised to claim the spotlight with their new, Danger Mouse-produced album. Oddly, they do so by largely shunning the blues.
After more than 70 years of living the blues, B.B. King proved during his performance at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis why he’s billed as the “king of the blues.”