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Blues All Around Me: The Autobiography of B. B. King Paperback – December 8, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: It Books; Reprint edition (December 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380807602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380807604
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,249,702 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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The book is easy to read and pleasant.
pammann@tekrab.net
And the way it's written really makes the reader feel like he's talking directly to you.
Nadeem Muaddi
I am a blues lover and always have been, beginning with B.B. King.
Courtney Allen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 2003
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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2002
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By john thomas on November 28, 2000
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Phillips on June 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a blues musician, but everybody should read this. It's very entertaining, but it also says a lot about the Jim Crow era in the south. This is obviously him telling his own story complete with the imperfections he can an can't see. You have to read between the lines to see what he had to put up with when negotiating with the recording establishment. He did it just like Satchmo, with a big toothy smile for the white people and wink to people of color. I hope the time has come when you don't have to do that anymore. Mr. King, you taught me how to sing through my guitar, not shred like the rockers. Every time I do that bend I think of you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nadeem Muaddi on January 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
Blues All Around Me is the best musician's autobiography that I've ever read. Uncensored and unapologetic, B.B. tells it how it was and how it still is - from his days picking cotton to becoming a celebrated music icon.

Unlike other musicians' autobiographies and biographies, B.B. really lets you in - exposing all his vulnerabilities. Little is off boundaries in this tell-all book. In fact, some of the things he reveals might even make you blush.

His story is inspiring, heart-warming and painful all at once. And the way it's written really makes the reader feel like he's talking directly to you. I'm young and new to the world of rhythm and blues, but he's made me a fan for life. I can't wait to see him live.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sinned on February 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very deep book. Everything BB King has he deserves and more...sometimes we complain about the smallest things. After reading this book I really have no complaints in life...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By mistermaxxx08 HALL OF FAME on February 26, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
i have longed Respected David Ritz. and this book keeps in the tradition.the Life of one of Musics truest Pioneers.the Battles with Race,Class&everyday living are all here.a must read on a Man that is still strong despite many Obstacles.he still finds a way to Achieve.Thank God for Lucile.the world of music would not have been the same without his Genius.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Blues All Around Me surveys the life of blues musician B.B. King, offering insight into his struggle for success and charting his rise in the music world. From his encounters with racism and civil rights issues to his show business experiences, this provides a well-rounded survey of King's life and times for any fan of his blues style music.
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