He sold millions of records worldwide and he was once acknowledged as the greatest Blues singer alive by none other than the legendary B.B. King.
But for all his recognition from adoring fans the late Blues icon Bobby "Blue" Bland always tried to give his best performance right in his hometown of Memphis.
Bland died at his home in the Bluff City on Sunday at the age of 83.
Bobby Blue Bland dies at age 83
On a sunny and steamy Monday on Beale Street it was raining in the hearts of family, friends and Blues lovers as the news of the death of musical icon spread like a shadow over the star that bears his name in the legendary entertainment district.
Eight decades of genius ended with the 83-year-old Bland's quiet passing at his Memphis home on Sunday.
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While his fame might not have rivaled others in his genre, the abundance of accolades he received from his peers, from Blues writers and aficionados was genuinely worshipful of his enduring talent.
"He's in the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame," said Jon Hornyak, The Recording Academy Memphis Executive Director. "We honored him that year with the Governor's Award from the Memphis Chapter of the National Recording Academy. Next year he got a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award."
While he played all over the world, Bland family friend Rose Duggar says he never forgot his roots were deeply embedded in the Bluff City.
"He always considered Memphis his home and was more than happy to always perform for his fans in Memphis," she said "He loved those more than any other I believe."
Always open to collaboration as a performer and a prolific songwriter, Bland's "Blues Bromance" with fellow musician and lifelong friend, B.B. King, produced classic moments on stage. Perhaps, none more reflective of the deep relationship the two musical giants shared, than after Bland was honored with his Blues Note on Beale in April 1996 with a celebratory dinner.
"B.B. King bought a table, took time off from touring to come and be there in person to show tribute to Bobby," Hornyak said. "Actually, got up on stage and started reminiscing about their younger days on Beale street."
"I think B.B. said in his autobiography, that he thought that Bobby was the greatest Blues singer alive," Duggar added. "He shared that he was his favorite Blues singer."
The highest of praise for a performer who every time he stepped on stage gave us the best he had.
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