Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
Home > Artists > B.B. King

B.B. King

1925 - 2015

Origin: United States

Main instrument: Acoustic guitar/electric guitar

Genre: Blues

The King of Blues B.B. King has passed away. We will always cherish him in our memory, and as a prestigious member of the 24 Legends of the Festival.

A regal figure in the blues, the indefatigable Riley “Blues Boy” King started his immortal career in the 1940s, singing and playing the music of his native Mississippi with an unequaled passion. With a style enriched by jazz colourings and West Coast blues, he and his iconic guitar nicknamed Lucille gave birth to a signature fluid, silvery, stripped-down sound admired by several generations of bluesmen and rockers, including Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones and U2. Winner of 15 Grammys, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, the “King of the Blues” boasts a CV numbering 50 albums and thousands upon thousands of concerts… including many memorable performances at the Festival. Before the first edition of the Festival, in May of 1980, he took part in the Living Legends of the Blues concert in the Cepsum along with James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters. In his first Festival stop in 1989, we caught him alongside George Benson in a major gala marking the 10th anniversary of the Festival. Six years later, the guitarist shared the marquee with another six-string legend, Buddy Guy, in a friendly “duel” that felt like the heavyweight championship of blues guitar, in a Forum specially outfitted for the occasion as a gigantic cabaret with a revolving stage. He has also delivered a number of performances in Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, including one to mark his 80th birthday in 2006 and his last festival concert in 2014. On this occasion, the Festival created an award presented to an artist who has distinguished himself or herself on the blues scene: the B.B.-King Award, of which the King of the Blues himself was the first recipient.



  • B.B. King - Interview 1995
  • B.B. King (1980) - Médiathèque Jazz

To comment on this profile or signal some inaccurate information, send your email to webmestre_jazz@equipespectra.ca.

Artists index

Name of the artist or group

Show artists who appeared in:

Show artists whose musical genre is:

Show artists whose musical instrument is:

Search for artists by country or province:

Link to this video