Blues singer Bobby “Blue” Bland died Sunday at the age of 83. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee in 1992 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient in 1997, Bland was known by many as the “Lion of the Blues”.
Bland’s son, Rodd, confirmed the passing of his father. “He had a hole in his stomach that had become tumorous,” CNN quoted son Rodd as saying. The blues singer passed away at his home in Germantown, TN at about 5:30 pm.
Bland’s music combined Southern blues and soul in songs like “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road”. He was influenced by Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra and was endearingly called “the Sinatra of the blues”. In 1957, “Further On Up the Road” hit No. 1 on the R&B charts, but Bland never reached the type of commercial success as his contemporaries Sam Cooke and Ray Charles.
His discography includes several dozen records, including collaborations with B.B. King. His song “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” was sampled on Jay-Z’s 2001 debut album, The Blueprint.
See performances by Bland here: