Albert King

Artist Playlists

About Albert King

Blues singer and guitarist Albert King was born Albert Nelson on a cotton plantation in Indianola, Mississippi, in 1923, and moved with his family to Arkansas when he was eight. He fashioned his first guitar from a cigar box and sang in church, but it wasn’t until he moved to Indiana in the early 1950s that his musical career took off. He made his first recordings for the Parrot label in 1953, when he started using the last name King, claiming to be a half-brother of B.B. King. He toured the Midwest and the South for more than a decade, building a devoted following and releasing a few singles, but his indelible sound was cemented when he signed with the Memphis label Stax, which released his classic 1967 album Born Under a Bad Sign. King’s stinging, almost acidic guitar tone and the album’s soulful, horn-stoked arrangements from Booker T. & The MG’s introduced him to a bigger audience, inspiring blues-rock guitarists like Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan. His 1970s recordings played up the rock connection as he covered the Rolling Stones and added funk to his sound. He toured and recorded regularly until dying of a heart attack in 1992.

Indianola, MS, United States
April 25, 1923
Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada