Today in Music History: Remembering B.B. King

B.B. King performing in 2006
B.B. King performs his 10,000th concert at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square on April 18, 2006 in New York City. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

History Highlight:

Today in 2015, Blues singer, songwriter and guitarist B.B. King died in his sleep at age 89 from a series of small strokes caused by type 2 diabetes. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, and Rolling Stone magazine placed him behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Also, Today In:

1955 - Bo Diddley's "Bo Diddley" with "I'm a Man" on the flip side appeared on the R&B chart. It climbed to No. 2, making it Bo's most successful record. The A-side introduced to the world what would become known as the "Bo Diddley beat," a rhythmic pattern later utilized by Buddy Holly, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead and many others.

1957 - Elvis Presley was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after inhaling a porcelain cap from one of his front teeth, which then lodged itself in one of his lungs.

1964 - It was announced in a Billboard article that "London Records was preparing a giant promotion on behalf of the Rolling Stones, a hot new British group with a smash single "Not Fade Away" and album The Rolling Stones.

1968 - John Lennon and Paul McCartney appeared on NBC's The Tonight Show with guest-host Joe Garagiola sitting in for then-host Johnny Carson. The conversation included some light-hearted banter about meditation, the forming of Apple Corps., and the duo's approach to songwriting.

1977 - During a U.K. tour, Talking Heads played a gig at The Rock Garden in London, where Brian Eno was among the audience. After seeing Talking Heads perform, Eno later went on to produce them.

1988 - Led Zeppelin reunited for the Atlantic Records' 40th anniversary party at Madison Square Garden in New York, appearing with Jason Bonham (the son of John Bonham) on drums. Other acts performing included Foreigner, Crosby Stills and Nash, Genesis, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Wilson Pickett and Ben E. King.

1998 - Frank Sinatra passed away at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at age 82, after suffering a heart attack. Sinatra had his first hit in 1940, working in the Swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. He went on to score more than 25 Top 40 singles, including the 1966 No. 1 "Strangers In The Night." Also a successful actor, Sinatra won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity. Considered one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook, Sinatra's funeral drew many notables from the music world, including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

2006 - Red Hot Chili Peppers started a run at No. 1 on the U.S. album chart with Stadium Arcadium, the band's ninth studio album.

2016 - The Beatles' former press officer, Tony Barrow, who coined the term "The Fab Four" to describe the band, died at age 80. Barrow represented the band between 1962 and 1968 and also wrote sleeve notes for their early albums, as well as the strip cartoon for the Magical Mystery Tour booklet.

2016 - Following the release of Beyonce's Lemonade, all 12 tracks on the album debuted on the Hot 100, breaking Taylor Swift's 2010 record for most songs on the chart at the same time by a female artist.

2017 - Johnny Mathis officially came out during an interview with CBS News Sunday Morning, saying, "I come from San Francisco. It's not unusual to be gay in San Francisco. I've had some girlfriends, some boyfriends, just like most people. But I never got married, for instance. I knew that I was gay." He had been reluctant to discuss the issue ever since a 1982 Us Magazine article addressing his homosexuality resulted in numerous death threats toward the singer.

2019 - Guitarist, singer and songwriter Mike Wilhelm died at age 77. He was best-known as a founding member of the influential Bay Area band The Charlatans, who have been widely credited as starting the Haight-Ashbury psychedelic scene during the 1960s. He later played with the bands Loose Gravel and the Flamin' Groovies.


Will Jones (the bass vocalist that can be heard in The Coasters and The Cadets' "Yakety Yak") was born on this day in 1928.

Bobby Darin was born on this day in 1936.

David Byrne is 69.

C.C. Deville of Poison is 59.

Rush drummer John Rutsey was born on this day in 1952.

Mike Inez of Alice in Chains is 55.

Fabrice Morvan of Milli Vanilli is 55.

Danny Wood of New Kids On The Block is 52.

Dan Auerbach is 42.

Highlights for Today in Music History are gathered from This Day in Music, Paul Shaffer's Day in Rock, Song Facts and Wikipedia.

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