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R.I.P. B.B. King
May 15, 2015 3:32 AM

What a life, what a man...what a musician:

B. B. King, whose world-weary voice and wailing guitar lifted him from the cotton fields of Mississippi to a global stage and the apex of American blues, died Thursday in Las Vegas, The Associated Press reported. He was 89.

"I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions," Mr. King said in his autobiography, "Blues All Around Me" (1996), written with David Ritz.

But the real reason he became a musician? Because back in the day, when he was coming up, you could make a lot more money playing music than many other occupations, especially the back-breaking work of the sharecropper:

"Growing up on the plantation there in Mississippi, I would work Monday through Saturday noon," he said. "I'd go to town on Saturday afternoons, sit on the street corner, and I'd sing and play.

"I'd have me a hat or box or something in front of me. People that would request a gospel song would always be very polite to me, and they’d say: 'Son, you're mighty good. Keep it up. You're going to be great one day.' But they never put anything in the hat.

"But people that would ask me to sing a blues song would always tip me and maybe give me a beer. They always would do something of that kind. Sometimes I'd make 50 or 60 dollars one Saturday afternoon. Now you know why I’m a blues singer."

R.I.P. B.B. King

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