Detroit Today Host Stephen Henderson talks to Jay Butler, the host of WDET’s Jay’s Place about the life of the blues legend.
King was born in Mississippi and later moved to Tennessee. In his early years, King was a disc jockey at WDIA in Memphis, which calls itself America’s first black radio station and was known at the time for its “negro” programming. King landed a gig singing a jingle for a health tonic, or as Butler says “not exactly an energy drink” called Pepticon.
With a big band of about a dozen members, Butler says King did gigs from St. Louis to Texas to Mississippi to Georgia. Somewhere along the way people started calling him “Blues Boy King” or “BB the Blues Boy.” Obviously, the name stuck.
In his later years, King moved out to the west coast. Butler says King’s manager, Sid Seidenberg, helped make him the legend we know him as today.
A caller named Sharon from Midtown says, “I played Beautician Blues about five times last night on the 45 on vinyl. I ain’t sellin’ this for nobody… God rest his soul.”
According to Butler, King still has a daughter who lives in the Metro Detroit area.
Jay Butler is host of Jay’s Place heard Saturday nights from 10pm - midnight, here on WDET 101.9 FM.