Bobby "Blue" Bland

  • Born: January 27, 1930
  • Died: June 23, 2013
  • Location: Memphis, Tennessee

Tribute


In this Jan. 15, 1992, file photo, Bobby "Blue" Bland, left, receives his award for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from B.B. King during induction ceremonies in New York. Bland's son Rodd said his father died Sunday, June 23, 2013, at his Memphis home surrounded by relatives. He was 83.

Blues singer dies at 83

ADRIAN SAINZ, The Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Full, sweet and melodious at one moment, powerful and primal in another, the iconic singing voice of the late Bobby "Blue" Bland was remembered by fans, friends and colleagues on Monday.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press on Monday that he and his wife went to a Bland concert on the day they were married in 1962. Jackson called Bland a dear friend who was a "legendary, smooth balladeer."

"He found sweetness in bitter roots," Jackson said by telephone from Chicago. "He found good news in the blues and was the interpreter of pain. He turned pain and sorrow into joy."

Bland died Sunday in Memphis due to complications from an ongoing illness, according to his son. He was 83.

Described by friends and relatives as classy and compassionate, the tall, wide-shouldered Bland is in the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as "Turn on Your Love Light" and "Further On Up the Road," notching more than 20 R&B hits in a career that lasted more than a half-century.

Though not as well-known as Ray Charles or B.B. King, he was an influence of scores of rock n' rollers, including Gregg Allman, David Bowie and Eric Clapton. Bland was one of the last of the living connections to the roots of the blues genre.

King was too saddened by Bland's death to comment publicly on Monday, spokeswoman Laverne Toney said.

"He's taking it very hard," she said

Bland was friends with King, having served as the blues guitarist's valet and chauffer at one point. They started the Beale Streeters, named after the thoroughfare and cradle of blues music in downtown Memphis. Upon his induction, the Rock Hall of Fame noted Bland was "second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis' Beale Street blues scene."

Bland scored his first No. 1 on the R&B charts with "Further On Up the Road" in 1957 and it was around this time he got his nickname, taken from his song "Little Boy Blue" because his repertoire focused so closely on lovelorn subject matter. He also had the nicknames "the Lion of the Blues" and "the Sinatra of the blues."

Beginning with "I'll Take Care of You" in early 1960, Bland released a dozen R&B hits. That string included "Turn On Your Love Light" in 1961.

Some of his best-known songs included "Call on Me" and "That's the Way Love Is," both released in 1963, and "Ain't Nothing You Can Do" in 1964.

Al Bell, the former producer and executive at the seminal Stax Records, said Bland's voice was versatile enough to handle non-blues classics such as "Somewhere over the Rainbow." Bell produced albums for Bland after his Stax days.

"Bobby Bland, I never heard another voice like his," said Bell, who has worked with singers like Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, Wilson Pickett, Sam & Dave and the Staple Sisters. "You're talking about one of a kind."

Jackson, who said he spoke with Bland last week by telephone, cited "Cry, cry, cry," as one of his favorites. In that song, Bland's voice emphatically makes a point: "I want you to cry, cry me a river/I want you to, yes I want you to cry me a sea/Yes, I know someone's going to hurt you/Just like you've been hurting me."

Bland's performance of "Stormy Monday Blues" was the highlight of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony last November.

In a written statement, The Recording Academy said the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner "seamlessly blended a mix of blues, country, gospel, jazz and pop music to create his unique sound."

"He was a stylistic pioneer who influenced countless musicians across many genres, with a career spanning nearly eight decades," said Neil Portnow, president and CEO of The Recording Academy.

Bland's funeral is scheduled Thursday in Memphis.


Condolence & Memory Journal

His message be heard all ova the worlds.

Posted by Will Fare - Detroit - Kneegrows   March 04, 2014

My father, who died three years ago, loved Bobby's music. I can't wait to see the look on Daddy's face when sees Bobby in the paradise earth that God promises. For the bible holds out hope that our loved ones will be resurrected and that there will be no more tears of pain or death. At God's appointed time, I look forward to seeing Bobby and hearing him perform to audiences just as he did in the past.

Posted by Mary - NC - fan   December 28, 2013

One of the great artist of my time. He is truly going to be missed. My thought and prayers go out to his family.

Posted by Joyce Mcghee - Detroit, MI - Fan   July 10, 2013

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IN LOVING MEMORY OF THE LATE MR. BOBBY (BLUE) BLAND. WILMA G.SCOTT & FAMILY.

Posted by Wilma Gee Scott - Florence, SC - Fan   July 02, 2013

We've Lost Another One Of Our Great Legends. But His Legacy Will Live On Through His Music! REST IN PEACE MR. BOBBY (BLUE) BLAND! TO THE FAMILY, YOU HAVE MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY! MY HEART GOES OUT TO EACH OF YOU AT THIS DIFFICULT TIME! MAY GOD GRANT YOU THE PEACE, COMFORT & LOVE THAT YOU NEED AT THIS SAD OCCASION & HARD TIMES IN YOUR LIFE.

Posted by Wilma Gee Scott - Florence, SC - Fan (Grew Up Hearing His Music)   July 02, 2013

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"Prayers and heartfelt condolences to the family of Bobby "Blue" Bland."
-Dianna Cross, STL, July 1, 2013

Posted by Dianna Cross - St. Lous, MO   July 02, 2013

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Rest In Peace Child of God,We loved you but God loved you "Best"

Posted by Atlanta Ga    July 01, 2013

Never had the honor of meeting Bobby "Blue" Bland but felt his music and heard him on Sirus radio Elvis station talking about Elvis, Beale St and sharing his perspective on music today. He will definately be missed even up here in Ohio where we honor him at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Posted by Dahmia Komidar - Cleveland, OH - Admirer/fan   July 01, 2013

To the family of Bobby Blue Bland my prayers and thoughts are with yours one of my favorite Members Only.

Posted by Richard Franklin - Pensacola, FL - Love One   June 29, 2013

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TO: EVERY ONE WHO LOVES BOBBY BLUE BLAND, PLEASE LEAVE A GUESTBOOK THOUGHT FOR BOBBY'S FAMILY TODAY AND PLEASE KEEP PRAYERS COMING FOR MRS BLAND, RODD BLAND AND RODD'S DAUGHTER, AND OTHER FAMILY WHO ARE SAD AND WILL BE SO FOR SOMETIME TO COME. I LOVED MR. BOBBY BLUE BLAND AND I WILL KEEP ALL OF YOU IN PRAYERS.PRAISE GOD FOR THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BOBBY BLUE BLAN....dr. gloria jo floyd of texas.

Posted by dr. gloria jo floyd - san antonio and luling, TX - long time fan and admirer.   June 27, 2013

Bobby Blue Bland was one of the greatest and well liked entertainers of all times he will be truly missed but his voice and music will live on for us to enjoy and generations to come Bless God for giving us Bobby for his time.

Posted by Robert and Rose Turner - austin, TX - friend   June 27, 2013

To the Family of Bobby Blue Bland know that Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can not heal. Your Husband, dad, Granddad was Loved my many. I thank you for sharing Bobby with us.His music will live on forever. May God keep you and comfort you in you time of lost.

Posted by Rosetta Valentine - Benton Harbor, MI - Loyal Fan   June 27, 2013

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My prayers goes to the Bland family, wife Ms. Willie M. Bland, son Rodney Bland, family, friend, as well as his fans. Bobby will always be in my heart, he was my dear friend ! Gone but not forgotten ! Rest in peace !

Posted by Norma Chapman - New Oeleans, LA - Friend   June 26, 2013

Our deepest condolences is being extended to the family for your losss. With much sympathy, Lillie M. Lacey and Virginia Price of Cincinnati, Ohio

Posted by Lillie Mae & Virginia - Cincinnati, OH - fan of his great music   June 25, 2013

TO THE BLAND FAMILY , i send my prayers and condolences.BOBBY sang a song like no otherand im sure heaven sounds a little more beautiful now. you know what they say THAT GOD ONLY WANTS THE BEST.They got the best of the best and hes not here in person but in spirit,just listen to his songs and hes here alll along. GOD BLESS YOU ALL . WE WILL NEVER FORGET BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND. AMEN.

Posted by ROB WALKER - DECATUR, IL   June 25, 2013

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Our condolences to your family and loved ones. May God bless you with peace. Cheryl & John Harmon Tyler, TX

Posted by Cheryl & John Harmon - Tyler, TX - Fans   June 25, 2013

Bobby was very special to us doing our teen years. He will be missed . We will keep the "Bland" family in our prayers.

Posted by Fuller Sisters - Reynoldsburg , OH - Loyal fans   June 25, 2013

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We will miss the man, but his music lives on. My condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by Tom - Hudson, MA   June 24, 2013


Family Album

In this Jan. 15, 1992, file photo, Bobby "Blue" Bland, left, receives his award for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from B.B. King during induction ceremonies in New York. Bland's son Rodd said his father died Sunday, June 23, 2013, at his Memphis home surrounded by relatives. He was 83.


Community Photos

His message be heard all ova the worlds.