B.B. King's First Hit "3 O'Clock Blues" Is The Song That Made Him Famous — VIDEO
By now I'm sure you've heard the tragic news that blues legend B.B. King died Thursday night at the age of 89. He spent over five decades in the music industry and is one of the most talented and game-changing artists out there, providing untold inspiration for the generations that came after him, and he will truly be missed. By all of us. The only silver lining of this situation is that we still have his music to remember him by; not only did King perform at an average of 200 concerts a year into his seventies, but he also churned out 43 studio albums, with the first, Singin' The Blues, coming out in 1957, and the last, One Kind Favor, being released as recently as 2008. The man was nothing if not prolific.
But the way I want to celebrate him today is not by going over the greatest hits of his storied career, although there are many to choose from. Instead, I want to look at his first hit ever, the one that propelled him to fame and changed everything for him — and for all of us — forever.
The song was called "3 O'Clock Blues," and though it wasn't the first track he released, it was the one that got him noticed and launched his career. It was first recorded by a man named Lowell Fulston in 1946, and it became his breakout hit when he released it in 1948. Then, four years later, it did the same thing for King when he recorded it and released it himself. It spent 17 weeks on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues chart, which included five at number one, and it jumpstarted King's fame in a very real and abrupt way, boosting him from $85 a week in earnings to about $2,500. No joke. It's the song that put King on the map for us, so let's take a moment to listen to it, walk down memory lane, and tip our hat to one of the true greats.
B.B. King, thank you for everything — you will be missed.