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Happy Birthday, B.B. King: Today’s Google Doodle Honors the King of Blues

September 16, 2019, 9:00 AM UTC

The thrill is back for a special Google Doodle today.

The search giant is honoring Blues legend B.B. King with a special animated Doodle made in conjunction with the B.B. King Museum in Mississippi. And that Doodle, of course, features his iconic hit “The Thrill Is Gone.”

The world knows him as B.B., but King was born Riley B. King on this date in 1925 on the Mississippi Delta in a town called Itta Bena. A sharecropper’s son, he was raised singing gospel music and playing on street corners, eventually leaving Mississippi for Memphis, where he got a job at a radio station.

The locals called him “Beale Street Blues Boy.” That later was shortened to “Bee Bee,” which became “B.B.”

Nearly as famous as King is his guitar—Lucille—which he once rescued from a fire in an Arkansas nightclub that started after two men began fighting. King ran back into the building, which was starting to collapse around him, to recover the initial instrument.

It turned out that the fight between the men was over a woman named Lucille. King says he never met the woman, but chose to honor her by giving that name to his guitar (to remind him to never do thing again).

In 2015, King passed away at the age of 89 in Las Vegas of complications from diabetes. He was buried in Memphis, with thousands lining Beale Street for his funeral procession as a brass band played “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

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