Freddie KingOn 03/09/1934 Freddie King was born in Gilmer, Texas. His birth name was Fred King. King started learning guitar at the age of six when his mother and uncle started teaching him. In 1949 the family moved from Dallas to Chicago.
In Chicago, he would watch the growing blues scene seeing performers such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, T-Bone Walker, Elmore James, and Sonny Boy Williamson. King formed his own band called Every Hour Blues Boys with guitarist Jimmie Lee Robinson and drummer Frank "Sonny" Scott.
In 1952 King began work at a steel mill and he married Jessie Burnett. Also that year he started working as a sideman in the bands Little Sonny Cooper Band and Earl Payton's Blues Cats.
In 1953 he recorded with Earl Payton's Blues Cats for Parrot Records. King would play alongside various musicians such as guitarists Jimmy Rogers, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Eddie Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, bassist Willie Dixon, pianist Memphis Slim, and harpist Little Walter.
In 1956 he recorded his first record as the featured artist for El-Bee Records. On the A-side, "Country Boy", he performed a duet with Margaret Whitfield. The tracks were both accompanied by Robert Lockwood Jr.
King auditioned several times for Chess Records but was rejected as he was considered to sound too much like B.B. King. Producer Willie Dixon, who was estranged from Chess, invited King to record for Cobra Records. The session hasn't been released. King would establish himself as one of the biggest names in the West side Chicago scene and would often play alongside Magic Sam.
In 1959 he met Sonny Thompson who was working as an A&R man for King Records. In 1960 King Records owner Syd Nathan signed King to their subsidiary Federal Label. Later that year King recorded his first single for them with "Have You Ever Loved a Woman". In the same recording session, he recorded "Hide Away," which the next year reached #5 on the R&B Charts and #29 on the Pop Singles Charts. King and Sonny Thompson would go on to record thirty instrumentals and vocal tracks as well. Whilst he was with Federal, King toured with R&B acts such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, and James Brown.
In 1966 King's Federal contract expired. The next year he went on an overseas tour. In 1968 producer and saxophonist King Curtis signed him to Atlantic records. King recorded the album "Freddie King Is a Blues Master" in 1969 and hired Jack Calmes as his manager. Calmes secured him an appearance alongside Led Zeppelin at the Texas Pop Festival. The appearance would lead to King being signed to Leon Russell's new label Shelter Records. Russell would back King himself as a pianist. They would record three albums, including recording the song "Goin' Down" written by Don Nix.
In 1970 King released the album "My Feeling for the Blues" for Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion Records.
King would perform alongside many of the popular rock acts of the period including Eric Clapton and Grand Funk Railroad.
In 1974 he released the album "Burglar" for RSO records, it featured guitarists Clapton and George Terry, drummer Jamie Oldaker and bassist Carl Radle.
In 1975 he released the album "Larger than Life".
In 1976 he started to suffer stomach ulcers and he died on 28th December of stomach complications and acute pancreatitis.
In 1993 3rd September was declared Freddie King Day by Texas Governer Ann Richards.
In 2012 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.