B.B. King, the legendary ‘King of the Blues’ recently received the Urban League of Middle Tennessee’s Living Legend Award. Patricia Parrish Stokes, president/CEO of the Urban League of Middle Tennessee (ULMT) along with board member, Burley Nelson, had the privilege of presenting King with the award, following his memorable performance at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on April 25. The Living Legend Award includes a copy of the ULMT commissioned artwork by local artist James Threalkill.
“Making that presentation was a precious opportunity,” said Stokes. “He is truly someone worthy of a living legend award recognition.”
Riley B. King began as a disc jockey in Memphis, where he was dubbed ‘The Beale Street Blues Boy.’ That nickname was shortened to ‘B.B.’ The guitarist cut his first record in 1949, and he spent the next few decades recording and touring, playing more than 300 shows a year. King has worked with musical artists from rock, pop and country backgrounds. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and he won his 14th Grammy Award in 2006.
At age 87, King still continues to draw crowds whenever he plays. He still tours the world, giving more than 250 concerts per year. No matter where he is, King has ‘Lucille’ in his hands. His guitar earned this nickname in the late 1940s for a woman at the center of a fight that broke out in a club where B.B. was playing in Twist, Arkansas. As the story goes, the fight resulted in a fire and the young B.B. went back into the club to save his guitar. B.B.’s biggest hit single is ‘The Thrill is Gone’ which was released in 1969.
“B.B., the thrill is still here,” said Stokes. “Thank you for your life and legacy!”