B. B. KING
"People who don't follow national politics are familiar with the name of John Kennedy. Those who know nothing about basketball have at least heard of Michael Jordan. There are certain individuals who are absolutely transcendent - their personalities become bigger than the field in which they are best known.
Such is the case with B. B. King. Those who never heard or had the blues knew his name.
We have our own Memphis Music Hall of Fame because this city has been foundational in the careers of icons like Elvis Presley, Al Green, Johnny Cash, and Isaac Hayes to name a few. Even among other musical legends, B. B. King was a giant in terms of his influence.
This loss is particularly hurtful for our city because B. B. and Memphis had a longtime love affair. The fact that Beale Street Blues Boy is the origin of Riley King's nickname is the type of authentic connection that will never die.
It is altogether fitting that we will mark the life of B. B. King on Beale Street this weekend. Some earn titles through elections and others through military conquest. But people all over the world have agreed for many years that B. B. was and will always be the KING OF THE BLUES - a title earned through music and performance, not according to his family name.
We will all miss this American icon. But, B. B. King's legacy and music will live on."
A C Wharton, Jr.
Mayor of Memphis