B. B. King
Arguably the most popular blues recording artist of the 20th century, as well as one of the most significant in the development of the electric guitar, B. B. King was a singer and performer whose voluminous and celebrated body of work helped bring the blues to mainstream audiences. King's sound - at once mournful and ecstatic with its trademark string bending and left-hand vibrato - bridged the gap between the rough-hewn country blues of his home in the Deep South, and the raucous electrified blues of Chicago and Detroit. What King brought to the music was jazz phrasing and soulful, gospel-driving singing that found favor with audiences who normally would not truck with the blues; in turn, he became an international favorite and Grammy winner 15 times over. Up until his death on May 14, 2015, King continued recording, performing and bringing his inimitable presence and music to listeners around the world, ensuring his well-earned status as King of the Blues.