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Bobby Bland

Learning his trade singing in gospel groups on Memphis' legendary Beale Street in the 1950s, Bobby "Blues" Bland grew into the "Lion of the Blues" and one of soul music's smoothest voices. He worked as a driver for Junior Parker before scoring a string of hits on the US R&B charts, including Farther Up The Road, I Pity The Fool, Turn On Your Love Light and Stormy Monday Blues. A charismatic, lung-bursting R&B star, he helped mould the big band traditions with the new generation of searing, electric, 12-bar blues guitarists and had has his songs covered by Eric Clapton, David Bowie, The Grateful Dead and later Whitesnake. His one big mainstream hit came in 1964 with the US Number 20 Aint Nothing You Can Do, yet in later life he went on to record and perform with B.B. King, dabble with disco on the album Sweet Vibrations (1980) and was sampled by Jay-Z on his album The Blueprint (2001). Bland was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1997 and stands as a hugely influential figure on rock, blues, jazz and soul acts, including Simply Red, Van Morrison and The Rolling Stones.

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