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Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B. B. King Paperback – March 8, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

His real name is Riley B. King, but the B.B. stands, as any aficionado knows, for Blues Boy, a nickname he was given in the late 1940s when he was a disk jockey in Memphis, Tenn. Of course, he's best known as the King of the Blues to millions of fans throughout the world. At 70, B.B. King is still singing the blues and this is his story, from his childhood growing up in the Mississippi Delta, to the purchase of his first guitar at age 12, from his first real break after his appearance on Sonny Boy Williamson's King Biscuit Time radio show, to his ascent to international acclaim as America's ambassador of the blues. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The long-awaited autobiography.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062061038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062061034
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,547 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wow, I just finished reading this biography and am truly satisfied with my reading. It's been a long time since I read a book this refreshing. Talk about honesty, passion and heart.
The last 3 chapters were especially entertaining, talking from the heart about issues generally left untouched. From page one, I couldn't put the book down.
This book really helps you understand B.B's live performances. For anyone who as seen B.B. King live sometimes gets the feeling that his performance is a routine that dates back 25 years (well, I now know it is!), but this fact doesn't bother my anymore, understanding where the man comes from, better understanding his way of doing things.
Recommended for blues fans and anyone interested in a very entertaining read.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't remember a time I didn't know who B.B. King was, but only in the past few years did I own any of his music. Always a Rock & Roll fan I only discovered it's roots in Blues and Jazz in the past few years. Now I can't get enough of the Blues. I read this book before a much anticipated B.B. King concert I recently attended. I would highly recommend the book, not to mention the Concert. That's the remarkable thing about B.B. King, if you want to see him in concert in a city near you just wait. Even now in his late 70's, B.B. is still on tour booking 250 to 300 one night stands per year. He's been doing this for over 50 years! His autobiography, told in his own simple and patient voice, tells a complete story of this remarkable man. This book reveals the personality and character of B. B. King in a way that no "tell all" biography could. Along the way you also learn much about the history of 20th century music. B.B. is the king of blues, but as his book reveals he has a complex understanding of all forms of modern music. He knew most of the significant musicians of the last 60 years and the book is filled with great anecdotes about many of them. Sadly you also learn about the painful experiences of racism from the perception of a black entertainer who has been on the road since the days of segregation.
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Format: Paperback
Reading "Blues All Around Me" is like sitting down with the man himself and having the good sense to just sit and listen and keep your mouth shut. Speaking candidly, B.B. King reveals himself to be a very down-to-earth and genuinely likeable man who rose from an incredibly humble beginning to become the most beloved bluesman of all time. No subject is off-limits, and King approaches them all with the same honesty that he puts into his music. Despite his struggle to succeed and survive in a rascist world, his views on racism will surprise you. Also particularly interesting to me were his insights into his musical influences, developing his signature sound, and his comments about younger bluesmen like Stevie Ray Vaughn, whom he considered almost a son. The stories and comments in this book will stay with you long after you have put it down.
By the way, contributor David Ritz has also collaborated on autobiographies of Etta James, Ray Charles, and Aretha Franklin. He had the good sense to sit back and listen to these folks as well. Warts and all, these books reveal the artists from the heart.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of B.B. or simply a fan of the blues I think you'll enjoy this book. What I enjoyed most was the way it was written. Most of the time it felt like B.B. was talking directly to me which made all of the stories much more vivid. I took away from this book that not only was B.B. one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, he was also a great man. The book was well worth the time it took to read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What a wonderful book about a wonderful singer/guitarist who has been giving us the blues for nearly sixty years now. This book is written in BB King's voice so it does feel like you are having a conversation with him, The tone is frank, the pace just right and the story absolutely intriguing. This talented performer's life has been drenched in the blues since his mother died while they were a family of plantation workers. The book takes you through BB's struggles a a street performer in his home town to a struggling act in Memphis where he felt like he would be lost in the hustle. BB is, as any fan would expect, a very humble fellow who is not afraid to acknowledge the role of luck wherever it has smiled on him. His humility, praise of other artistes and sheer hard work make for a life that is simple yet adventurous and very captivating. This is MUST reading for any BB fan and one of the most joyful aspects of artists' biographies is the fact that you learn about many other performers who in turn inspired the author. I felt the same way when I read Keith Richards' "Life" which led me to listen to (and inevitably fall in love with) Jimmy Reed's music. BB also mentions in great detail the singers/guitarists he admired and listens to even today. Go grab a copy today!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
loved it! david ritz really did an awesome job putting on paper bb's memories... all i have to say that when you are finished reading this book, damn you'll feel like you knew the man, you'll feel like you just have a couple of drinks with him and you were talking... just talking... well written, in a very honest-intimate sort of way
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