|B. B. King|
King was often introduced as the world's greatest blues singer, and he could "shout and exhort the blues in a harsh, blustery baritone like a backwoods preacher then caress the words with a soft falsetto plea in the same verse," McArdle writes. His style drew from gospel music and big-band jazz, which garnered a wide audience.
Born on Sept. 16, 1925, on a plantation near Itta Bena, Miss., King strove for self-improvement throughout his life. In 1974, he told music journalist Michael Lydon, "My only ambition is to be one of the great blues singers and be recognized. If Frank Sinatra can be tops in his field, Nat Cole in his, Bach and Beethoven and those guys in theirs, why can't I be great and known for it in the blues?" (Read more)