Bobby Blue Bland

Blues and R&B great Bobby “Blue” Bland, often called 'the Sinatra of the blues' has died of complications from an ongoing illness at the age of 83.

Memphis Music Foundation’s Pat Mitchell Worley broke the news on Memphis station WREG, writing, "It is a great loss for the blues and for Memphis Music. He was a trail blazer and his music will be missed." Bland's son Rodd Bland said "He's always been the type of guy that if he could help you in any way, form or fashion, he would."

Bland was born Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland in Rosemark, Tennessee in 1930. He began singing in local gospel groups in Memphis before becoming part of the Beale Street scene alongside the likes of Johnny Ace, Junior Parker and B.B. King.

Prior to a stint in the US Army, Bland recorded for the Modern and Chess labels. After returning from service he signed with Duke Records for his #1 R&B hit Farther Up The Road (1957). Decades of hits followed, and Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in (1992). He was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.