Today's Doodle, illustrated by Little Rock-based guest artist Steve Spencer and animated by Brooklyn-based guest animator Nayeli Lavanderos, celebrates BB King-the iconic "King of the Blues" who brought blues music from cotton fields and street corners to grand halls and arenas across the world.
The Google doodle dedicated to the ace singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer, features a vibrant animated video summarizing his entire life.
Born on this day in 1925 on a Mississippi Delta plantation near Berclair, Mississippi, Riley B. King was a sharecropper's son whose soulful, piercing guitar solos became recognizable with a single note. Often imitated but never duplicated, B.B. King became a blueprint for many of the world's biggest rock stars who followed. "I wish I could just do like B. B. King," said John Lennon of The Beatles. "If you would put me with B. B. King, I would feel real silly."
Raised singing gospel music in church, B.B. King performed on street corners before hitchhiking to Memphis and landing a job on the air at radio station WDIA. There, locals began calling him "Beale Street Blues Boy," later shortened to "Bee Bee" and finally "B.B."
He began recording in 1949 and never looked back after his first hit, "Three O'Clock Blues." Records like "The Thrill is Gone" and "Every Day I Have the Blues" have become classics of the genre.
B. B. King opened for the Rolling Stones on tour and became the first internationally acclaimed blues artist, winning 15 Grammys, being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, receiving honorary doctorates from assorted universities, and performing at the White House. Embodying the traveling bluesman, King was also known for averaging more than 300 shows a year throughout various points in his career.
In 1949, King ran inside a burning nightclub to save a guitar, risking his own life for his beloved instrument. The fire had been caused by two men fighting over a woman named Lucille, and from that day forward, King referred to all his guitars by that name.
"When I sing, I play in my mind," he once said. "The minute I stop singing orally, I start to sing by playing Lucille."
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