B.B. King was born on a cotton plantation in Mississippi and died a few days ago in his Las Vegas mansion. Heralded worldwide as a master of the blues, he was an innovator who melted intricate jazz-inflected urban blues over the raw stomp of country blues. On his guitar named Lucille, he would lay down needlepoint-fine lines and then make her roar, dazzling audiences wherever he went.
The blues he helped define is the music of the broken heart; the weary who can't stand any more cheating, whether it is their spouse doing the stepping out, or it is the song's protagonist exhausted with his own shortcomings. Twice married and twice divorced, King understood the blues.