Singer Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland, known professionally as Bobby “Blue” Bland is credited with developing a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. He has been described as a great storyteller of blues and soul music. He was sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues” and as the “Sinatra of the Blues.”
Here are a few cool facts to know about singer Bobby Bland:
1. Born Robert Calvin Brooks in the small town of Barretville, Tennessee. His father, I. J. Brooks, abandoned the family not long after Robert’s birth.
2. Acquired the name “Bland” from his stepfather, Leroy Bridgeforth, who was also called Leroy Bland.
3. Recorded unsuccessful singles for Modern Records and, at Ike Turner’s suggestion, for Sun Records (which licensed its recordings to Chess Records) in 1950 and 1952. He then signed a contract with Duke Records.
4. First chart success came in 1957 with the R&B chart no. 1 hit “Farther Up the Road”, which also reached no. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed by a series of hits on the R&B chart, including “Little Boy Blue” (1958).
5. Final R&B no.1 hit was “That’s The Way Love Is,” in 1963, but he continued to produce a consistent run of R&B chart entries through the mid-1960s.
6. Signed by Malaco Records, specialists in traditional Southern black music for whom he made a series of albums while continuing to tour and appear at concerts with fellow blues singer B. B. King in 1985.
7. Inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
8. Received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
9. Described by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as “second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis’s Beale Street blues scene.”
10. Continued performing until shortly before his death. He died on June 23, 2013.