Albert King (April 25, 1923 â€“ December 21, 1992) was an American blues musician and the most influential electric guitarist of the early post-war blues era. He was influential in introducing and popularizing the soul music form. Born in Indianola, Mississippi, he moved as a child to Arkansas, then to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1948. As an adult, King was admired for his powerful singing and soaring guitar playing. He is widely remembered as "the King of the Blues" and recognized for having a significant influence on Blues, Soul, Rock, and R&B music.
King's musical career began when he was hosting a New Year's Eve blues party in his basement and a blues singer heard his playing. The singer ran to the radio station to report what she had heard, and this prompted influential disk jockey Sonny Blount to invite King to make a record at the Sutro Recording Company in St. Louis in 1951. Soon after, King achieved success with a number of R&B hits, including "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong," "Crosscut Saw," and "The Sky Is Crying."
In the 1960s, King's popularity grew as rock musicians began to embrace blues music and started taking cues from the groundbreaking sounds of Albert King. His song "Oh Pretty Woman" was later made famously famous by Roy Orbison, while Eric Clapton recorded "Born Under a Bad Sign," and B.B. King shared a performance of "Crosscut Saw." As the popularity of blues increased in the 1970s, King made several critically acclaimed Live and Recorded appearances at renowned venues such as the Fillmore East in Manhattan and San Francisco's Fillmore Auditorium.
King's albums achieved wide appeal and success in the long run. His 1966 debut album, King of the Blues Guitar, was hailed as a masterpiece, as was King's 1965 Out of Sight and 1970 Los Angeles, both of which would continue to influence generations of guitarists and singers. The 1970s and '80s also saw a number of critically acclaimed albums, such as The Lost Tapes and Lovejoy, while his powerful's 80s albums, I'll Play The Blues For You and Wednesday Night in San Francisco reaching mass audiences.
King continued to perform live until his final performances in the days just before his death in 1992 at the age of 69. In addition to his many music accolades, King was prompted to be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. Over his lifetime, King collectively won or was nominated for nine awards and made 214 recordings. To this day, his music continues to elicit admiration for its pure forms of songwriting and songwriting style that included the combination of his monotone vocals, electric guitar effects playing, and vibrato overdriving licks. In 2016, six of King's notable songs were added to the Grammy Hall of Fame, and in 2019, the United States Postal Service inducted him into their Music Icons stamp series before 2020.
He revolutionized blues guitar playing alongside Albert Collins and Freddie King, leaving an impact on all electric forms of the music. His influence is felt in both traditional forms and modern music today, with his influence being seen in more contemporary players like Gary Moore, Albert Collins, and John Mayer. He has become an icon of American Blues guitar, and his lasting legacy will live on for years to come.