Blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland passed away at his Memphis home yesterday (June 23) from a prolonged illness, according to his son Rod Bland.
His hits such as "Further On Up the Road" and "Turn on Your Love Light" established him as the “Frank Sinatra of Blues,” due to his lush arrangements with strings and swanky style influenced by Nat King Cole, not to mention his famous growl.
His nickname “Blue” stems from not only the genre of music he sang, but his overall song themes of being lovesick, especially when he released the song "Little Boy Blue." Without much recognition, he recorded with record exec and producer Sam Phillips who helped to launch the careers of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash in the early 50s, but his fame rose in the early 60s with 1963’s "Call on Me," "That's the Way Love Is," and 1964’s "Ain't Nothing You Can Do."
Bland was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, his songs having been covered by many rock and rollers, including David Bowie and Eric Clapton.
Bobby “Blue” Bland was 83.