Blues and R&B legend Bobby "Blue" Bland died Sunday night at his home in Memphis, according to his family. Bland is a member of both the Blues Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 1997 he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
From the AP story:
Bobby "Blue" Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern blues and soul in songs such as "Turn on Your Love Light" and "Further On Up the Road," died Sunday. He was 83....
Bland was known as the "the Sinatra of the blues" and heavily influenced by Nat King Cole, often recording with lavish arrangements to accompany his smooth vocals. He even openly imitated Frank Sinatra on the "Two Steps From the Blues" album cover, standing in front of a building with a coat thrown over his shoulder.
"He brought a certain level of class to the blues genre," said Lawrence "Boo" Mitchell, son of legendary musician and producer Willie Mitchell.
Bland was a contemporary of B.B. King's, serving as the blues great's valet and chauffer at one point, and was one of the last of the living connections to the roots of the genre.
Video: Bland with B.B. King on "Soul Train" in 1975.