Born January 27, 1930, Rosemark, Tennessee. Moved to Memphis 1948. Played with Billy ‘Red’ Love and other influential Delta musicians. First recording was Dry Up Baby (Modern 848). Entered Armed Services 1952, joined Johnny Ace Revue after discharge, having signed with Duke Records. First smash hit, It’s My Life Baby, 1955 followed by years of consistent success in R&B market.
In the 50s and early 60s, Bobby “Blue” Bland was one of the main creators of the modern soul-blues sound. Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with blues and R&B. Bobby’s style of soul-blues was punctuated with a big-band sound and slick, B.B. King-flavored guitar riffs.
Despite Bland’s extensive recording catalogue, his long-term success on the R&B charts, and his near-constant touring (often with longtime friend B.B. King), he rarely crossed over into the pop realm. Dozens of blues and R&B influenced rock vocalists, however, have credited Bland as a main influence. Throughout the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, he continued to record, mostly for the Jackson, Mississippi, blues label, Malaco. Bland was inducted into the Blues Foundation’s Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1992. He continues to perform regularly.