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Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89 in a Las Vegas hospital. King was the son of a sharecropper, and was born on a plantation in Mississippi. He worked his way up from singing in church, performing on street corners to influencing musicians like Ringo Star, Brad Paisley, and moved blues to a mainstream audience.

King recorded his first song in 1949, and celebrated the first hit with the release of Three O’Clock Blues in 1952.

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“Blues means what milk does to a baby,” he said. “Blues is what the spirit is to the minister. We sing the blues because our hearts have been hurt, our souls have been disturbed.”

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