Cultural Percussionist

Freddie King Day

Freddie King (September 3, 1934 – December 28, 1976) was an American blues guitarist and singer. He has been described as one of the “Three Kings” of electric blues guitar, along with Albert King and B.B. King. He was an influential guitarist with hits for Federal Records in the early 1960s. His soulful and powerful voice and distinctive guitar style inspired countless musicians, particularly guitarists (Eric Clapton is a notable example). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

King based his guitar style on Texas blues and Chicago blues influences. His best-known recordings include the singles “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” (1960) and his Top 40 hit “Hide Away” (1961) and albums such as the early, instrumental-packed Let’s Hide Away and Dance Away with Freddy King (1961) and Burglar (1974), which displayed his mature versatility as both a guitarist and a singer in a range of blues and funk styles. He was one of the first bluesmen to have a multiracial backing band at live performances.

According to his birth certificate he was named Fred King, and his parents were Ella Mae King and J. T. Christian. When Freddie was six years old, his mother and his uncle began teaching him to play the guitar. In autumn 1949, he and his family moved from Dallas to the South Side of Chicago.

In 1952 King started working in a steel mill. In the same year he married another Texas native, Jessie Burnett. They had seven children.

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