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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

B.B. King’s Tour Bus to become part of B.B. King Museum

The B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center has acquired one of B.B. King's tour buses, which will arrive at the Museum on Thursday, July 11 at 11 a.m. It's not the bus pictured above, but a custom designed 1987 Van Hool, manufactured in Belgium, which King used in the late 80s and early 90s. It's been refurbished and repaired for display.

The photo above was taken on Beale Street in 1955 by Memphis photographer Ernest Withers. It was B.B.'s first bus and the first large band that he put together -- after scoring his first big hit in 1952 with Three O'Clock Blues he went out with the bands of others. From the early '50s until relatively recently King played several hundred gigs a year, sometimes well over 300, so he's certainly spent more time on his various buses than he has his regular home (he maintains one in Las Vegas).

Here's a link to a slideshow of one of King's recent buses, focussing on the elaborate media technology. King has always travelled with large collections of music--one of the founding collections at the Blues Archive at the University of Mississippi was a collection of King's LPs.

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