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Freddie King

Guitarist Freddie King rode to fame in the early '60s with a spate of catchy instrumentals which became instant bandstand fodder for fellow bluesmen and white rock bands alike. Employing a more down-home (thumb and finger picks) approach to the B.B. King single-string style of playing, King enjoyed success on a variety of different record labels. Furthermore, he was one of the first bluesmen to employ a racially integrated group on-stage behind him. Influenced by Eddie Taylor, Jimmy Rogers, and Robert Jr. Lockwood, King went on to influence the likes of Eric Clapton, Mick Taylor, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Lonnie Mack, among many others.

Freddie King (who was originally billed as "Freddy" early in his career) was born and raised in Gilmer, TX, where he learned how to play guitar as a child; his mother and uncle taught him the instrument. Initially, King played rural acoustic blues, in the vein of Lightin' Hopkins. By the time he was a teenager, he had grown to love the rough, electrified sounds of Chicago blues. In 1950, when he was 16 years old, his family moved to Chicago, where he began frequenting local blues clubs, listening to musicians like Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Little Walter, and Eddie Taylor. Soon, the young guitarist formed his own band, the Every Hour Blues Boys, and was performing himself.

In the mid-'50s, King began playing on sessions for Parrott and Chess Records, as well as playing with Earlee Payton's Blues Cats and the Little Sonny Cooper Band. Freddie King didn't cut his own record until 1957, when he recorded "Country Boy" for the small independent label El-Bee. The single failed to gain much attention.

Three years later, King signed with Federal Records, a subsidiary of King Records, and recorded his first single for the label, "You've Got to Love Her With a Feeling," in August of 1960. The single appeared the following month and became a minor hit, scraping the bottom of the pop charts in early 1961. "You've Got to Love Her With Feeling" was followed by "Hide Away," the song that would become Freddie King's signature tune and most influential recording. "Hide Away" was adapted by King and Magic Sam from a Hound Dog Taylor instrumental and named after one of the most popular bars in Chicago. The single was released as the B-side of "I Love the Woman" (his singles featured a vocal A-side and an instrumental B-side) in the fall of 1961 and it became a major hit, reaching number five on the R&B charts and number 29 on the pop charts. Throughout the '60s, "Hide Away" was one of the necessary songs blues and rock & roll bar bands across America and England had to play during their gigs.

King's first album, Freddy King Sings, appeared in 1961, and it was followed later that year by Let's Hide Away and Dance Away With Freddy King: Strictly Instrumental. Throughout 1961, he turned out a series of instrumentals -- including "San-Ho-Zay," "The Stumble," and "I'm Tore Down" -- which became blues classics; everyone from Magic Sam and Stevie Ray Vaughan to Dave Edmunds and Peter Green covered King's material. "Lonesome Whistle Blues," "San-Ho-Zay," and "I'm Tore Down" all became Top Ten R&B hits that year.

Freddie King continued to record for King Records until 1968, with a second instrumental album (Freddy King Gives You a Bonanza of Instrumentals) appearing in 1965, although none of his singles became hits. Nevertheless, his influence was heard throughout blues and rock guitarists throughout the '60s -- Eric Clapton made "Hide Away" his showcase number in 1965. King signed with Atlantic/Cotillion in late 1968, releasing Freddie King Is a Blues Masters the following year and My Feeling for the Blues in 1970; both collections were produced by King Curtis. After their release, Freddie King and Atlantic/Cotillion parted ways.

King landed a new record contract with Leon Russell's Shelter Records early in 1970. King recorded three albums for Shelter in the early '70s, all of which sold well. In addition to respectable sales, his concerts were also quite popular with both blues and rock audiences. In 1974, he signed a contract with RSO Records -- which was also Eric Clapton's record label -- and he released Burglar, which was produced and recorded with Clapton. Following the release of Burglar, King toured America, Europe, and Australia. In 1975, he released his second RSO album, Larger Than Life.

Throughout 1976, Freddie King toured America, even though his health was beginning to decline. On December 29, 1976, King died of heart failure. Although his passing was premature -- he was only 42 years old -- Freddie King's influence could still be heard in blues and rock guitarists decades after his death. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Cub Koda, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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Thank you uncle for all the years GOD bless us to be family.Uncle Freddie we miss you so much.I love you*BLUES*
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I've been hearing his music since birth. I'm from Texas too and move to Chicago at ten too to play with Muddy and Buddy at Legends, Kingston Mines, Blues in Halsted and Bucket of Blood on the West side. Those days passed too fast but the music is still as fresh in my mind as it was the day I was born.
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lord have mercy
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We're they relative
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genod2
Love ya man!!
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Messin' With The Kid/Freddie King - nuff said..
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oh wooooooh
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lol
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lol let's go
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joseph44mill e r
Love it. Song for everyone. R/B..R/R. ,,,GOOD OLD DAY'S. NUFF SAID :-) :-) :-) :-) M/B.JA
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Hideaway...!
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damn my man
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go ahead freddie king
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You are missed Freddie!
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JUST SO LAYED BACK ,IT CAN'T BE THAT EASY.
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yup
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The best guitar playing and singing bluesman I've ever heard.
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wicked guitar sound with that less paul
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I often saw listen to Freddie at the cains ballroom in Tulsa ok. He loved to interact with the crowd. He came to the nine of cups in Tulsa with his Tulsa girlfriend, my roommate. The whole 2ed floor was cleared for us and his body guards.
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Oh yah; Freddie is my favorite. Not as well known as I would like. He was a great guitarist and singer. Love his version of Going Down. I wore his albums out as a young guitarist!
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Can't tell who I like more Freddie or B B. Both great but leaning towards Freddie.
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Very fortunate to have seen Freddie in '72, in Spokane, opening for Santana!!
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Big Legged Woman is my favorite.... it's my go-to song when I want to feel good!
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Saw Freddie in Burlington Ia at the auditoriam,d o w n on the old muddy Mississippii , s o appropiate,i n the early 70's,played some of his stuff in the band,back in the day.Pack it up.Like Big Legged Woman In A Short Short Mini Skirt
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bobbyboyce
I grew up down the street from him, knew his family, but didn't appreciate his greatness until after his passing.
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Freddie is a livewire dare you to touch it
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Great player and the biggest collars ever Mr brown stole his clothes YouTube Freddie in sweden
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Love blues!! Nothing like it!! Very nice!!! ❌⭕❌⭕
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Incredible bluesman!
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apatterson16
Freddie King is mentioned in the lyrics to Grand Funk's American Band
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I was very fortunate to see Freddie King live in San Antonio, Tx. many times, he was truly one of the best in his own style picking and singing. Like the song goes, only the Good die Young !
Loboveijo
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Once upon a time there was a guy in San Francisco who ran a club and decided to have a special night which he advertised as an evening with the three kings of the Blues. He had BB King, Albert King, and Freddie King on the bill that night. Those shows became legendary as the lucky few who were there would testify to. The ballroom was called the Fillmore and the promoter was Bill Graham - man, did he have great taste or what?!
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FEELIN FREDDIE
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Man, could this guy pick!
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Of all the late great bluesmen, Frddie King is the one I would pick to see if I could go back in time...He was a true tripple threat.
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i went to high school with his kids in dallas.
he once played at the school. great memories!
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the tune pack it up got my attention
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larry.m.mcca r t h y
Hmm. Not Ultimate without Driving Sideways, for me.
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a.witherspoo n 1
Saw him at the tower theater in Philly.Pa. in 1973, wth Savoy Brown! While in the Navy!!!
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Great voice, great guitar player, great song writer, great entertainer. . . t o o bad he died so young.
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freddybusch
Freddie King is the greatest! Velvet voice, velvet guitar.
This is pure, genuine blues of the finest kind.
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Love Freddy King
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@bfriedman37 - no respect for BB?! Even Freddie would give the man his props.
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bfriedman37
NOBODY WOULD ANYBODY WITHOUT THE LATE, GREAT FREDDIE "THE LEGEND" KING!! I WAS LUCK ENOUGH TO SEE FREDDIE PERFORM AT "THE ARMADILLO WORLD HEADQUARTERS " - - i t was truly ashame when it was sold for an office building and parking lot, many, many years ago!!! Stevie Ray and Jerry G. BOTH LEARNED ALOT FROM THE KING OF THE BLUES--NO RESPECT TO BB!!!
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Someday After Awhile.... great song!!
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daveshelburn e
these guys paid the dues
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There seems to be a lot of important albums that Pandora does NOT have.
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Never heard of this guy, but I'm loving his style!
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My favorite of the Kings, with all due respect to BB & Albert. Freddie tearing it up on Hideaway - that's what I'm talkin' about!
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swbowie
You just can't beat the blues
matt bowie

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