The music industry has lost another great artist in the person of blues and soul singer Bobby Bland a.k.a. Bobby "Blue" Bland. Known as "The Lion of the Blues", the legendary musician passed away on Sunday afternoon due to complications from an ongoing illness, surrounded by his loved ones in his Memphis home, his death at the age of 83 confirmed by his son Rodd.
A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient back in 1997, Bland was heavily influenced by the ground-breaking Nat King Cole and was a first-rate imitator of the iconic Frank Sinatra, earning him the title "Sinatra of the blues." Prior to being recognized by the Grammys, he had already been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981 and later in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.
Along with the late, music greats as Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed blues and soul with R'n'B and gospel music. Prior to his eventual success, he was a founding member of the Beale Streeters circle of aspiring musicians, a group that included one of Bland's contemporaries, the great guitarist B.B. King.
Before scoring his first No. 1 on the R'n'B charts, "Further Up on the Road" in 1957, he worked with producer Sam Phillips, who was responsible for launching the careers of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. By 1960, Bland had kicked off a dozen hits in a row, beginning with "I'll Take Care of You", followed by "Call on Me" and "That's the Way Love Is" in 1963, and the year after with "Ain't Nothing You Can Do".