Posted by themusicsover on June 23, 2013
Bobby “Blue” Bland
January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013
Known as the “Lion of the Blues” as well as the “Frank Sinatra of the Blues,” Bobby “Blue” Bland was an influential singer who successfully blurred the lines between soul, Gospel, and R&B, and by doing so, found himself years later resting at #44 of Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Born at the southeastern most tip of Tennessee, Bland eventually moved with his mother to Memphis where he began singing with local Gospel groups. He soon started hanging out in the storied Beale Street clubs where he joined up with a loose group of local aspiring singers and musicians sometimes referred to as the Beale Streeters who counted B.B. King and Johnny Ace as members. After an early ’50s stint in the U.S. Army, Bland returned to Memphis and began making records in 1954. The early ones received little notice, but in the late ’50s and early ’60s, his records like “Farther Up The Road,” “Little Boy Blue,” and “I Pity The Fool” started showing up on the R&B charts. By the late ’60s, he had no fewer than 23 Top Ten R&B hits and was later listed at #13 on a list of the best-selling R&B artists of all time. In all, Bland released nearly 30 albums, his most recent being 2003’s Blues At Midnight. Over the course of his career, Bland recorded or performed with B.B. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, Junior Parker, and many more. In 1981, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Bobby “Blue” Bland was 83 when he passed away on June 23, 2013.
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