10 Legendary Acts That Wouldn't Exist Without B.B. King - Rolling Stone
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10 Legendary Acts That Wouldn’t Exist Without B.B. King

From Jimi Hendrix to Stevie Ray Vaughan, King’s impact is large and undeniable

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

GERMANY - MARCH 01: Photo of JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE and Jimi HENDRIX; L-R Mitch Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Noel Redding - Jimi Hendrix Experience - posed, group shot (Photo by K & K Ulf Kruger OHG/Redferns)

Gunter Zint/Redferns/Getty

In B.B. King, aspiring rockers discovered a profound emotional expression lacking in the era's other great influence, Chuck Berry. With his admirable work ethic, snappy clothes and positive disposition, King modulated the blues' roughest rural elements into an optimistic urbanity. He was both a fabulous entertainer and a real human being, self-effacing with a refreshing sense of humor. Championed early on by Paul Butterfield and Eric Clapton, King found the audience he deserved following the release of Live at the Regal in 1964. He modeled the blues as a viable way to earn a living onstage. Here are ten acts — rock, blues and beyond — that took his example and ran with it. (Also see King's 10 essential songs and our definitive 1998 profile, On the Bus With B.B. King.)

In This Article: B.B. King


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