Bobby "Blue" Bland, an influential soul and blues musician behind many hits from the 1940s and beyond, died Sunday in Memphis at the age of 83.
"The Lion of the Blues” or “Sinatra of the Blues” was revered as a pioneer of blues and soul with a career dating back to the early blues and R&B sound.
Bobby "Blue" Bland packed elements of gospel, blues, pop, country, jazz and R&B into emotionally raw performances that became a standard for the genre.
He never quite achieved the crossover and radio success of peers such as Ray Charles and B.B. King, who he even imitated in early recordings.
Nevertheless, he remained a fixture on the R&B charts and tour circuit for decades and is one of the top 25 bestselling R&B artists of modern times.
As a testament to his career, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and received a lifetime achievement Grammy in 1997.
Bland died from complications of an ongoing illness. RIP.