MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Full, sweet and melodious at one moment, powerful and primal in another, the iconic singing voice of the late Bobby “Blue” Bland is being remembered by fans, friends and colleagues.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press on Monday that he and his wife went to a Bland concert on the day they were married in 1962. Jackson called Bland a “legendary, smooth balladeer.”

Bland died Sunday in Memphis due to complications from an ongoing illness. He was 83.

Described by friends as a classy, compassionate person, the tall, wide-shouldered Bland is in the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He was friend of blues guitarist B.B. King. A spokeswoman said King was too saddened by Bland’s death to comment publicly.


Adrian Sainz

Associated Press