Press contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940
Website: Visit the Library's Living Legends Web site.

September 12, 2005

Blues Great B.B. King Honored by Library of Congress with Living Legend Award

King Helps Launch Library’s Multiyear Celebration of Creativity Across America

In a special ceremony at the Library of Congress today, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington presented B.B. King with a Living Legend medal in honor of his achievements as a musician and ambassador for the blues.

King also recorded an interview today to contribute to the oral history archives of the American Folklife Center, to help launch the Library’s new multiyear, multidimensional celebration of Creativity Across America, which will include concert and film tours, oral histories, teacher institutes and other programs around the country.

The Library’s Living Legend award is given to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage. The first awards were given five years ago in connection with the Library’s Bicentennial celebration, to honor Americans whose creative contributions to American life have made them living legends.

Other recipients of the award include artists, writers, filmmakers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures, public servants and, of course, musicians—among them Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Benny Carter, Johnny Cash, Yo-Yo Ma, Dolly Parton, Itzhak Perlman, Leontyne Price, Pete Seeger and Ralph Stanley.

For more than 50 years, B.B. King, has defined the blues for a worldwide audience. He has released dozens of albums, many of them Grammy-winning classics, and his performing style has been a model for thousands of young players. He holds a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, was a Kennedy Center Honors awardee in 1995 and is a member of the Blues Foundation and Rock and Roll halls of fame.

At the age of 80 (his birthday is Sept. 16), King’s storied career continues with the release of a new album, "B.B. King and Friends – 80"; a B.B. King museum in his hometown of Indianola, Miss.; and the publication of a new book, "The B.B. King Treasures."

Note to media: photos from today’s award ceremony are available by calling or e-mailing Helen Dalrymple in the Library’s Public Affairs Office.

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PR 05-194
09/12/05
ISSN 0731-3527

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