MEMPHIS, Tenn.–The Sunday death of Blues singer Bobby Blue Bland brought an era to a close. The singer was born in Tennessee, but spent the last 30 years of his legendary career working for a Mississippi record company.
Bland was 83 when he died. His last album was cut in 2003 for Malaco Records, a label to which he was signed in the mid 80s, following a stint with MCA. Though many of his Malaco recordings have been called “solid” by blues critics, it was actually his earlier work that landed him on the pop charts.
Songs “I Pity the Fool” and “Turn on Your Love Light” were what made his name known world-wide. Before becoming part of the Beale Street scene, Bland worked with artists like Ray Charles and Sam Cooke.
He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and got a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1997.
Bland was influential world-wide, with Van Morrison asking him to duet on a re-recording of “Tupelo Honey”, in 2007 and Mick Hucknall of Simply Red releasing a tribute album on Bobby Blue Bland material in 2008.