By now, Google is known for immortalising pioneers of science, music and the arts with their animated Doodles.
And today, the tech giant has chosen to showcase a true legend of the Blues genre; famed musician BB King, on what would have been his 94th birthday.
His influence proved so profound that he was nicknamed “King of Blues,” offering a nod to his astounding ability to bring blues music from the cotton fields of Mississippi to street corners and grand halls all over the world.
The Doodle includes a vibrant animation dedicated to the singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer with holding his most prized possession – his guitar (all of which he named Lucille).
Here’s everything you need to know about ‘King of the Blues,’ BB King:
Who was BB King?
BB King was born Riley B. King on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, on September 16, 1925.
As a child, he sang with church choirs and played music on street corners for money.
In 1947, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to pursue a career in music. He became a disc jockey for AM radio station WDIA under the moniker Beale Street Blues Boy, which King later shortened to “Blues Boy King” and eventually B.B. King.
King started recording in 1949 and produced his first. “Three O’Clock Blues.” He went on to record other classics such as “Every Day I Have the Blues” and arguably his most famous track, “The Thrill is Gone.”
A skilled guitarist, King named all of his guitars Lucille. The name stemmed from a gig King performed in Arkansas in the 1950s, during which two men fighting over a woman called Lucille knocked over a kerosene stove, starting a fire. Everyone promptly evacuated the venue, but King rushed back inside to rescue his $30 Gibson acoustic guitar.
When he found out about the fight, he decided to name his guitar Lucille “to remind myself to never do anything that foolish.”
King suffered from Type 2 diabetes which contributed to his deteriorating health. He died on May 14, 2015 at age 89.
Why is he being honoured with a Google Doodle?
To many, King is considered one of the undisputed legends of the Blue genre.
His music and the legacy it cemented earned him a collection of accolades, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.
A true performer, King was known for having a relentless touring schedule well into his 80s and was renowned for his energetic performances.
The Doodle which proudly adorns Google’s homepage today was created by Little-Rock based artist Steve Spencer and Brooklyn-based Nayeli Lavanderos. The BB King Museum in Mississippi also helped the Google team with the project.
The impressive video art was directed by Angelica McKinley, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, where King first began performing. She said of King: “Without having a full formal education and the guidance of his parents, King took the talent that he was given in a time period that wasn’t kind to black people and devoted himself to sharing music that was the pulse of the Mississippi Delta with the rest of the world.
“This music was created from pain that he knew all too well, but King decided to own it.”