Albert King

Albert Nelson (April 25, 1923 – December 21, 1992), known by his stage name Albert King, was an American blues guitarist and singer whose playing influenced many other blues guitarists. He is perhaps best known for the popular and influential album Born Under a Bad Sign (1967) and its title track. He is one of the three performers (together with B.B. King and Freddie King) known as the “Kings of the Blues.” King was known for his “deep, dramatic sound that was widely imitated by both blues and rock guitarists.”

Playlist

2 Videos

He was also known as “The Velvet Bulldozer” because of his smooth singing and large size—he stood taller than average, with sources reporting 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) or 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), and weighed 250 lb (110 kg)—and also because he drove a bulldozer in one of his day jobs early in his career.

King was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2011, he was ranked #13 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Albert King was born on a cotton plantation in Indianola, Mississippi. During childhood, he sang at a church with a family gospel group, in which his father played the guitar. One of 13 children, he grew up picking cotton on plantations near Forrest City, Arkansas, where the family moved when he was eight years old.

Guitarists Through The Decades