Guitar great B.B. King honoured

as he reaches his 80th birthday.

Blues legend B.B. King joined local dignitaries Friday for the groundbreaking of a $10-million museum honouring him in Indianola, the Mississippi Delta town where he used to live.

Riley King was born Sept. 16, 1925, on a cotton plantation in Berclair, outside Itta Bena. He moved to Indianola in 1943 and earned the nickname “B.B.” – for Beale Street Blues Boy or just Blues Boy – during his early career in Memphis, Tenn.

The 18,000-square-foot B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center will be built around a cotton gin where King once worked.

I had this thought that I would build a house and at my death it would open as a museum B.B. King

King said during a news conference after the ceremony. The museum isn’t his only new honor.

Different areas of the complex will feature various aspects of King’s 60-year career, many narrated and presented through animation and recordings by King himself. King will talk about his upbringing in the Mississippi Delta and the early days in Memphis, where he launched his career in clubs and on local radio.

A replica of the WDIA radio studios in Memphis, where King discovered his first real success, will also be housed at the museum.

Motorists driving on a stretch of U.S. 61 in Tennessee will be travelling the B.B. King Highway.

A ceremony noting a name change for the highway was held last week at the Beale Street nightclub that also bears King’s name.

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