Guitarist B.B. King, who took the blues from rural juke joints to the mainstream and influenced a generation of rock guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan, has died, USA Today reported late on Thursday. He was 89.
An attorney for King, who will always be linked with the Gibson guitars he named Lucille, said he died in Las Vegas, USA Today said.
Eight facts about blues guitar legend B.B. King:
* As a disc jockey on a Memphis, Tennessee, radio station, Riley B. King became known as "The Beale Street Blues Boy," which was shortened to "Blues Boy" and eventually to "B.B."
* King was playing a dance in Twist, Arkansas, when two men began fighting over a woman and accidentally set the dance hall ablaze. King had to dash back in to save his guitar, which he began calling Lucille, the name of the woman who inspired the fight.
* King's primary guitar teacher was his cousin, bluesman Bukka White.
* In 2003 Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time ranked King as No. 3, behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.
* In 1956 King and his band performed 342 one-night stands.
* King greatly expanded his fan base to jazz, folk and rock audiences in 1967, playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival and the Fillmore West in San Francisco.
* King's 10,000th show came on April 17, 2006, at his namesake nightclub in New York. He performed despite having buried his son, who died of cancer, the day before.
* King appeared on the television shows "Sanford and Son", "The Young and the Restless", "The Cosby Show", "Married ... With Children", "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Sesame Street.".