B.B. King has played the world over and, this week, he will take the stage in Chattanooga, at the Tivoli Theatre.
Born in Mississippi in 1925, King spent his early life playing on street corners before heading to Memphis in 1947 to formally begin his music career. For the past 65 years, he has been a defining force in the music industry.
Guitarists from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton have been inspired by his playing style, described by biographers as his "every note counts" phrasing.
King has shared the stage with innumerable artists. Last month, he was joined by President Barack Obama, who sang part of "Sweet Home Chicago" alongside King, Buddy Guy and Mick Jagger.
King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Hame in 1987, the same year he received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. He has had two No. 1 R&B hits, "Three O'Clock Blues" (1951) and "You Don't Know Me" (1952).
Whether playing at the White House, London's Royal Albert Hall or Chattanooga's Tivoli Theatre, King brings along a special lady: his trademark Gibson guitar, Lucille.
The custom-designed instrument was named after two people who were killed in a fire in Twist, Ark., that started when two men at a dance fought over a woman. When the fire broke out, King ran back in to rescue his acoustic guitar.
He later learned of the two people who had lost their lives and the woman who had inspired the brawl. Her name was Lucille.
According to his website, "he decided to give the name to his guitar to remind him never to do a crazy thing like fight over a woman."
"When I sing," he has been quoted as saying, "I play in my mind; the minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."
IF YOU GO
What: B.B. King in concert.
When: 8 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...