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Blues and R&B Great Bobby “Blue” Bland Dies at 83

Singer's classic hits include "Farther Up the Road" and "Turn On Your Love Light"

Bobby "Blue" Bland
Bobby "Blue" Bland
Bobby "Blue" Bland

Bobby “Blue” Bland, an indelible force in the genres of blues and R&B, died yesterday (June 23) in Memphis at age 83. A specific cause of death was not cited, but Bland had been ill for some time, his son Rodd told reporters.

Best known for perennial favorites such as “Farther Up the Road,” “I Pity the Fool” and “Turn On Your Love Light,” Bland-influenced by gospel, blues, jazz and country sounds-excelled both as a balladeer and as a shouter. His influence extended to his peers in the blues and R&B world as well as to rockers-his songs were covered by artists such as Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin, the Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder and the Band, among many others. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Memphis Music Hall of Fame and was the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.

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