For more than half a century, Riley B. King – better known as B.B. King – has defined blues for a worldwide audience. Since he started recording in the 1940s, he has released more than fifty albums. Born in 1925 on a plantation in Mississippi, he played on street corners for dimes and would sometimes play as many as four towns a night. In 1947 he hitchhiked to Memphis to pursue his music career. B.B. stayed with his cousin Bukka White, one of the most celebrated blues performers of his time, who schooled B.B. further in the art of the blues. His first big break came in 1948 when he performed on Sonny Boy Williamson’s radio program KWEM out of West Memphis. B.B. continues to tour extensively, averaging more than 250 concerts per year around the world. Classics such as The Thrill Is Gone, Everyday I have The Blues and Why I Sing The Blues are concert and fan staples. Over the years, the Grammy® Award-winner has had two #1 R&B hits, Three O’clock Blues and You Don’t Know Me. In 1984 B.B. was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 1987 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Any discussion of Buddy Guy invariably involves a recitation of his colossal musical resume and hard-earned accolades. He’s a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to rock titans like Hendrix, Clapton, Beck, and Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago’s fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city’s halcyon days of electric blues.
Buddy has received five Grammy Awards, 23 W.C. Handy Blues Awards (the most any artist has received), the Billboard Magazine Century Award for distinguished artistic achievement and the Presidential National Medal of Arts.
Yet despite this long list of achievements, Buddy Guy and his music remain as vital as ever. Just this year, Buddy appeared on the big screen nationwide with a show-stopping performance in Martin Scorsese’s Rolling Stones concert film, Shine A Light. At the age of 72, he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone for the first time, as part of the magazine’s “100 Greatest Guitar Songs” package (his cataclysmic 1961 recording of Stone Crazy made the list). And now, the release of Skin Deep, an album of all original material, with guest appearances from fellow guitar wizards Eric Clapton, Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks—adds yet another dimension to this master’s legendary career.