Over one hundred friends, relatives and admirers of B.B. King were present on Friday (11 December) as a black granite marker was dedicated at the gravesite of the blues pioneer in Indianola, Mississippi. King died in May in Las Vegas, but was returned to his beloved home town for burial. The stone is engraved with his real name, Riley B. King, and lyrics from his 1979 track ‘Take It Home.’
The stone will become the centrepiece of a memorial garden on the gravesite, outside the B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Centre, as part of its projected $4.5 million expansion. Plans call for the garden to have benches and titles from some of King’s best-loved work to be engraved on metal panels, reports Billboard.
“Some folks might argue that the blues is the greatest export from Mississippi, and the greatest purveyor of that music was B.B. King,” commented state Senator John Horhn of Jackson, MS during the ceremony. Perhaps King’s best-known song, the 1969 hit ‘The Thrill Is Gone,’ was played over loudspeakers as the stone was unveiled.
“This is such an outpouring of love and seeing how the Delta really loved B.B. King and what a wonderful man he was,” said Karen King Williams, one of the seven among B.B.’s 11 living children who attended the event, along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “This is just how he would want to be remembered.”
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