September 16 is B.B. King's day of birth, and to mark what would have been his 90th birthday, the City of Memphis announced it has named a part of a street after the legendary musician, who passed away in May.
An account posting on behalf of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Roy Orbison, who passed away in 1988, joined others on social media to share stories of King's life and work.
Using his iconic Gibson guitar Lucille, King played some of the best-known blues songs ever written, including "The Thrill Is Gone," "Every Day I Have the Blues," and "Sweet Little Angel." As the B.B. King Museum recalls, his early work was so brilliant, it quickly crossed racial and cultural divides.
Until the 1960s most #BBKing fans were African American, but by the end of that decade young whites had also embraced his music.
— B.B. King Museum (@BBKingMuseum) September 16, 2015
A brief letter reveals King's gratitude for friendship
In 1990, King sent a letter to a "Mrs. Ann Taylor," shared by Letters of Note in May, in which he expresses gratefulness for her concern and friendship after a hospital visit:
I think there are many People, and especially entertainer's, never got to know that they have so many friend's, and fan's, while they are a live, usually after death there are beautiful thing's said about them, but thank's to You, I have a chance to smell those beautiful flowers of concern while I am still alive... I sure hope that as I live in the future, that I will always be worthy of Your kind concern and friendship. [sic]
Blues helped King start his career, and King helped the blues win over the world
In this 1972 interview, King described his early career singing religious music, and his dreams of making his first album for a Memphis radio station:
In this video produced by the B.B. King Museum, Bonnie Raitt notes that King "is the one who's done the most for the blues":
During his lifetime, King received multiple awards for his work, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.