Singer Bobby “Blue” Bland has died at the age of 83, his son said Monday. Credit: Family Photos
(CNN) — Singer Bobby “Blue” Bland has died at the age of 83, his son said Monday.
Bland’s son Rodd told CNN that failing health had forced his dad off the stage earlier this year. “He had a hole in his stomach that had become tumorous, and it was emptying into his bloodstream.”
He said Bland passed away from natural causes at his home in Germantown, Tennessee. “He was in my arms,” his son said. “But I’m not going to lie. I could have used at least 20 more years.”
A website in Bland’s name credits the singer with being “one of the main creators of the modern soul-blues sound.”
“He never b**ched about not getting his due,” said his son, who formerly was a drummer in his father’s band. “When I took him to Beale Street for ribs and catfish, fans would come up to him. He was always courteous, polite and kind. And humble. That’s what I admired.”
Bland’s song “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” was sampled on Jay-Z’s 2001 album, “The Blueprint.”
According to his website, Bland was born in 1930 in Rosemark, Tennessee, outside Memphis. He began his career singing with a gospel group before joining the blues group the Beale Streeters, which included such future stars as B.B. King, Junior Parker and others.
Bland was drafted into the Army in 1952. After his release from the service in 1954, he resumed his musical career as a solo act and established a long-term professional relationship with Duke Records. Soon he had hits racing up the R&B charts, including “I Pity the Fool” and “That’s the Way Love Is.”
Bland often toured with his former bandmate King, and King was on hand to help induct the singer into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992.