Is Albert King Related to BB King? The Truth Behind the Blues Legends

Albert King and BB King are two of the most influential blues guitarists of all time. They are often referred to as the “Kings of the Blues” along with Freddie King, another legendary bluesman. But are they related by blood or just by name?

The Claim: Albert King was a Half-Brother of BB King

Albert King, whose birth name was Albert Nelson, claimed that he was born in Indianola, Mississippi, on April 25, 1923 or 1924, and that he was a half-brother of BB King, whose birth name was Riley B. King. He said that they shared the same father, Albert King, and that they grew up in the same town. He also used the same nickname as BB King, “Blues Boy”, and named his guitar “Lucy”, similar to BB King’s famous guitar “Lucille”. He even billed himself as “BB King’s brother” when he started using the name Albert King in 1953.

The Evidence: Albert King was Not Related to BB King

However, there is no evidence to support Albert King’s claim of being related to BB King. According to official documents, Albert King was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi, on April 25, 1923, and his father’s name was Will Nelson. He grew up in Forrest City, Arkansas, where he moved with his family when he was eight years old. He did not meet BB King until the late 1940s or early 1950s, when they both performed in Memphis, Tennessee.

BB King himself denied that he was related to Albert King, although he acknowledged him as a brother in the blues. He said: “He called his guitar ‘Lucy,’ and for a while he went around saying he was my brother. That bothered me until I got to know him and realized he was right; he wasn’t my brother in blood, but he sure was my brother in the blues.”

The Conclusion: Albert King and BB King were Brothers in the Blues

Albert King and BB King were not related by blood or by name. Albert King adopted the name and some aspects of BB King’s persona as a way of associating himself with the more famous bluesman. However, they both respected each other as musicians and friends, and influenced each other’s styles and techniques. They were brothers in the blues, not in the family tree.

Doms Desk

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