MEMPHIS, Tenn.–The last leg of BB King’s journey to his burial place in Indianola is done after a Wednesday tribute and funeral procession in Memphis. The Mississippi blues legend called Memphis home for a number of years while he DJ’d on radio station WDIA and played blues clubs before hitting it big.
“BB King loved Memphis and he loved Mississippi,” said business partner Tommy Peters, who along with King, helped start the BB King Blues Club franchise in 1991.
MAYOR WHARTON AND TOMMY PETERS COMPLETE SPEECHES
Peters was part of a tribute concert held in Handy Park on Beale St., about a block away from the Memphis BB King’s. Bobby Rush ad the BB King All-Star Band were just two of several performers.
“Now you have to be careful when you use the word ‘king’ around here,” said Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, “after all, Martin paid the ultimate sacrifice here, so we honor him over at the Civil Rights Museum, and when we talk about Elvis we honor him over at Graceland, and when we talk about the King of the Blues, we come to Beale St.”
“Paying the cost to be the boss, this is history for the Armstrong family,” said one fan who came from Chicago for the Memphis tribute. “My dad saw him play in Chicago and he was a BB King fan. I was raised up on the blues and I can’t believe I’m on Beale St.”
King’s body was taken down Beale St. in a hearse, preceded by a New Orleans style jazz band and parade. His body was taken down Hwy. 61, known in Tennessee as the BB King Highway, then to Indianola, where a public viewing will be held Friday from 10 to 4 at the BB King Museum.
King’s funeral is Saturday at his home church, not far from the museum.
He will be buried at the museum.