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King of the Blues

The Rise and Reign of B. B. King

Daniel de Vise



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Grove Press
30 November 2021
'Without a doubt the most important artist the blues has ever produced' - Eric Clapton 'No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues' - President Barack Obama 'One part of me says, Yes, of course I can play. But the other part of me says, Well, I wish I could just do it like B.B. King. ' - John Lennon King of the Blues is the story of the first and only superstar of American blues. But it is also a chronicle of the African-American experience. B.B. King grew up in the Deep South, a few generations after the end of slavery, imprisoned within a cruel system of wage slavery known as sharecropping. King of the Blues will also tell the larger story of the birth of modern popular music. B.B. King's boundless ambition and tireless toil gave him initial success, topping the charts in the 1950s and early '60s. But then his career hit a wall when his version of classic blues music could not break through to the mainstream. But then, after years of being out of the limelight, B.B.'s music was rediscovered by new listeners, who saw that he had inspired their guitar rock heroes. From the 1970s on, each time his popularity faded, his music was given new life: fronting for The Rolling Stones, acclaimed by Eric Clapton, praised by U2 and Bono. His last concert was performed in late 2014, six months before he died at age 89.
Imprint:   Grove Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Edition:   Main
Dimensions:   Height: 240mm,  Width: 170mm,  Spine: 42mm
Weight:   950g
ISBN:   9781611856545
ISBN 10:   161185654X
Pages:   496
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Introduction: Introduction 1: Sharecropper 2: On the Run 3: Indianola Mississippi Seeds 4: The Blues 5: Memphis 6: The Blues Boy 7: Lucille 8: On the Road 9: Big Red 10: Fallow 11: Regal 12: Revival 13: Fillmore 14: Mythology 15: Live and Well 16: Back in the Alley 17: Moscow on the Mississippi 18: Homecoming 19: Lovetown 20: Riding with the King 21: A Golden Chain Epilogue: Epilogue Lyrics Referenced: Lyrics Referenced Discography: Discography The King's Court: The King's Court Acknowledgments: Acknowledgments

Daniel de Vise is an author and journalist who has worked at the Washington Post and Miami Herald, among other newspapers. He shared a 2001 Pulitzer Prize and has garnered more than two dozen national and regional journalism awards. He is the author of the critically acclaimed Andy and Don and The Comeback, and coauthor of I Forgot To Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia. He lives in Maryland with his wife and children.

Reviews for King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B. B. King

'B.B. King, one of the great bluesmen of all time. Can any other person hold one note on the guitar and make it say so much? Daniel de Vise's book on B.B. King is a great read.' - Joan Armatrading 'B.B. King is one of, if not the best of, America's treasured heroes! Mr. de Vise meticulously dives deep into why, what and how young Riley, who graced this planet from a world of extreme complications, was able through his talent, relentless drive and humility, to rise to the deserved title 'King of the Blues.' Get your records out and enjoy the read. I did!!!' - Robert Cray 'The name B.B. King now resonates with longevity amongst blues lovers and music enthusiasts alike. With more than six decades of noteworthy expressions of a great American art form, B.B. King's guitar playing and singing hold a strong place with an unmistakable sound of his professional and effervescent personality. Get a head start within these fine pages for an intimate trip with B.B. King's lifetime attachment to creativity. B.B. is truly King of the Blues, oh yeah!' - Billy Gibbons, guitarist and singer, ZZ Top 'Like hopping onboard B.B.'s tour bus for a ride straight to the heart of the blues. Told me about the B.B. I knew and a few other B.B.'s as well. I loved them all.' - Shemekia Copeland, three-time Grammy-nominated recording artist 'Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist De Vise (The Comeback) amply demonstrates his masterful storytelling and research skills in this definitive look at legendary blues musician B.B. King . . . An intimate portrait of a cultural luminary . . . Even readers who aren't fans of the blues will be engrossed by this nuanced look at an American icon.' -Publishers Weekly (starred review) 'The definitive biography of blues master Riley 'B.B.' King . . . Engaging. The book expertly interweaves King's music career into the U.S. social fabric, especially the civil rights movement. With this fast-moving, informative, even-handed, and exhaustive biography, de Vise? vividly captures King's life.' -Library Journal (starred review) 'As blues royalty and one of the 20th century's most influential musicians, B.B. King has long deserved a well-considered biography that places his achievements in a cultural and historical context. This is it . . . Interweaves tales of American history, pop culture, racial relations, music theory, and much more to fully demonstrate King's significance . . . Magnificent . . . The thrill is here, as B.B. King finally gets his due in this first meticulous account of his historic life.' -Kirkus Reviews (starred review) 'King of the Blues . . . tracks B.B. King's multifarious career with such efficiency and clarity that surely little of biographical significance remains to be said. . . .[T]he evaluations of King's recordings are comprehensive and almost always judicious.' -Mojo

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