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Bobby “Blue” Bland

(27 January, 1930 — 23 June 2013)
“I’d like to be remembered as just a good old country boy that did his best to give us something to listen to and help them through a lot of sad moments, happy moments, whatever.”

This week we celebrate the birthday of blues singer Bobby Blue Bland. Born Robert Calvin Brooks in Barretville, Tennessee, Bobby moved with his mom to Memphis and began singing in gospel groups. He hung around Beale Street with a bunch of young musicians including B.B. King, Junior Parker and Johnny Ace.

Encouraged by Ike Turner, Bland signed with legendary Sun Records. A two year stint in the army found him singing in pop singer Eddie Fisher’s orchestra. After his service, he returned to Memphis to play with Johnny Ace. He toured with Junior Parker and had his first hit, Farther Up the Road, which reached number one on Billboard’s R&B charts.

Bobby Blue Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012. He received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame described him as “second in stature only to B B King as a product of Memphis’s
Beale Street blues scene.”

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