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B.B. King to return to UK for summer 2009 tour

BB King

Story by Jack Foley

UNIVERSALLY hailed as the reigning king of the blues, and due to popular demand, B.B. King is to come out of retirement and return to the UK for four arena concerts in June 2009.

The blues guitar icon will team up with the legendary British blues virtuoso John Mayall to share the once-in-a-lifetime double bill for what is set to be one of the most spectacular rhythm ‘n’ blues concert tours ever to hit the UK in years.

The tour kicks off at Manchester MEN Arena on Wednesday, June 24, 2009, and will also take in arena dates at the Birmingham NIA, Cardiff CIA and London Wembley Arena.

The three-hour concerts will see John Mayall perform the first half, with the second half performance by B.B. King.

The tour dates are (all June 2009):

24 – Manchester MEN Arena (£45 & £39)
25 – Birmingham NEC Arena (£45 & £39)
27 – Cardiff CIA (£45 & £39)
28 – London Wembley Arena (£45 & £40)

Throughout the 1990’s as well as the 1980’s, 1970’s, 1960’s and 1950’s, there has been only one King of the Blues – Riley B. King, affectionately known as B.B. King.

Since B.B. started recording in the late 1940’s, he has released over 50 albums many of them considered blues classics, like 1965’s definitive live blues album Live At The Regal, and 1976’s collaboration with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Together For The First Time.

Over the years, B.B. has had two number one R & B hits, 1951’s Three O’Clock Blues, and 1952’s You Don’t Know Me, and four number two R & B hits, 1953’s Please Love Me, and 1954’s You Upset Me Baby, 1960’s Sweet Sixteen, Part I, and 1966’s Don’t Answer The Door, Part I.

B.B.‘s most popular crossover hit, 1970’s The Thrill Is Gone, went to #15 pop.

But B.B. King, as well as the entire blues genre, is not radio oriented. His classic songs such as Payin’ The Cost To Be The Boss, Caldonia, How Blue Can You Get, Everyday I Have The Blues and Why I Sing The Blues are concert (and fan) staples.