B.B. King's mastery of the blues took him from the cotton fields to the world's stage.

Born Riley E. King, B.B. was a shortened version of Blues Boy, which was the name he took as he first hit the road in the 1940's. His first charted record came in 1951, and that's when B.B. hit the road and seemingly never came off it.

He was embraced by the rock and roll community as well as the blues, and influenced many artists and guitarists during his long career, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

The great love of his life was his guitar, and that story of his life was told many times. He was playing in Arkansas in the early 50's when a fire broke out at the hall he was playing. B.B. initially got out, but ran back in to grab his guitar. He later forund out the fire was accidentally started by two men having a fight over a woman named Lucille.

From then on, all his Gibson guitars- curved like a woman's hips- were referred to as Lucille.

The word legend was invented for people like B.B. King.