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Saunders King (March 13, 1909, Staple, Louisiana - August 31, 2000, Oakland, California) was an American R&B and blues guitarist and singer.
King was the son of a preacher, and sang in his father's church while growing up in Oakland. As a youngster he learned to play piano, banjo and ukelele, but did not pick up guitar until 1938. At the end of the 1930s he sang with the Southern Harmony Four on NBC radio, and decided to begin playing blues music; he released the tune "S.K. Blues" in 1942, which became a major nationwide hit. The tune featured electric blues guitar, one of the earliest recordings to do so.
The lyrics tell of the singer's dissatisfaction with his bald-headed girlfriend:
I did more for you baby than the good lord ever done
I went downtown and bought you some hair and the good lord never gave
The song concludes on a theme of violence toward women:
Give me back that wig I bought you, I'm gon' let your head go bald
Keep on high timin' me baby, you won't have no hair, no head at all
King had a series of setbacks in the 1940s which hurt his career; his wife committed suicide in 1942, his landlord shot him with a .45-caliber pistol in 1946, and he was jailed for heroin possession shortly after. He recorded for Aladdin Records, Modern Records, and Rhythm Records, and retired from active performance in 1961, devoting himself to work in the church. In 1979, he played with Carlos Santana, his son-in-law, on the album Oneness.
King was paralyzed by a stroke in 1999, and died the following year at age 91.