May 15, 2015

How the church gave B.B. King the blues

B.B. King first learned music from the African American churches of the Mississippi Delta.

“Church was not only a warm spiritual experience,” the legendary bluesman once said, reflecting on his religious childhood. “It was exciting entertainment. It was where I could sit next to a pretty girl and mostly it was where the music got all over my body and made me wanna jump.”

King died on Thursday at age 89. In his long career, he had a profound influence on generations of rock and blues guitarists, as Terence McArdle reported for the Washington Post. King was considered by many to be the world’s best blues singer and came to be known as “King of the Blues.”

In interviews over the years, King talked about how his first experiences with music were connected to church. He also talked about how his relationship to church was deeply conflicted.

Read the essay at the Washington Post: How the church gave B.B. King the blues