1. "B.B. King, Defining Bluesman for Generation, Dies at 89." 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. He was 89.
"His death was reported early Friday by The Associated Press, citing his lawyer, Brent Bryson, and by CNN, citing his daughter, Patty King. Mr. King married country blues to big-city rhythms and created a sound instantly recognizable to millions: a stinging guitar with a shimmering vibrato, notes that coiled and leapt like an animal, and a voice that groaned and bent with the weight of lust, longing and lost love. 'I wanted to connect my guitar to human emotions,' Mr. King said in his autobiography, Blues All Around Me (1996), written with David Ritz. In performances, his singing and his solos flowed into each other as he wrung notes from the neck of his guitar, vibrating his hand as if it were wounded, his face a mask of suffering. Many of the songs he sang—like his biggest hit, 'The Thrill Is Gone' ('I'll still live on/But so lonely I'll be')—were poems of pain and perseverance. The music historian Peter Guralnick once noted that Mr. King helped expand the audience for the blues through 'the urbanity of his playing, the absorption of a multiplicity of influences, not simply from the blues, along with a graciousness of manner and willingness to adapt to new audiences and give them something they were able to respond to.'"