B.B. King to be buried in Mississippi hometown next week

Wed May 20, 2015 6:31pm EDT
 
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By Bryn Stole

GREENWOOD, Miss. (Reuters) - Legendary blues man B.B. King will be buried on Saturday, May 30 on the grounds of a museum dedicated to his life in Indianola, a small Mississippi Delta town where his career began.

A funeral procession will take King’s body from the airport in Memphis, Tennessee next Wednesday to Handy Park in Memphis, where King first achieved widespread fame, before continuing down U.S. Route 61 — often dubbed “The Blues Highway” — to his hometown of Indianola.

A public viewing will be held on Friday, May 29 at the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola. The funeral service will be held at the nearby Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, followed by a private burial on the grounds of the museum that evening.

The 15-time Grammy winner and member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was born Riley B. King to sharecroppers about 20 miles (32 km) from Indianola in the tiny Delta community of Berclair, Mississippi, on Sept. 16, 1925.

After his parents split up, he was raised by his grandmother in the hill country town of Kilmichael.

He moved to Indianola when he was 17 and spent many of his formative years there, driving a tractor on a plantation and playing gospel and blues music in churches and clubs, on street corners and the radio, before moving to Memphis in 1948.

King kept a home in Las Vegas, where he died last week at the age of 89, but spent much of his life on the road. He played an annual homecoming concert in Indianola, which he called his hometown, every year since 1980.

He was ranked by Rolling Stone Magazine as No. 6 on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists, and considered a major influence on other blues and rock guitarists.   Continued...

 
U.S. blues legend B.B. King performs onstage during the 45th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux July 2, 2011.  REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud