89 year old Blues legend and Guitar genius, BB King passed away Thursday night after he announced two weeks ago that he was in Home Hospice Care, suffering from dehydration. After years of living with Type II diabetes, King was forced to cancel the remainder of a tour after he fell ill at a performance at Chicago’s House of Blues last October.
Riley B. King or B.B (an abbreviation of “Baby Street Blues boy” – a name he used as a Disc Jockey in Memphis) passes on a legacy of classic blues tunes – from his 1957 debut album “Singin’ the Blues” (which boasted 5 charting singles) to his, 51st and final, Grammy winning album “One Kind Favor”. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is considered one of the greatest Blues guitarists of all time and a huge influence on a generation of musicians, including greats like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix.
B.B and his girl
It was 1949 in Twist, Arkansas and B.B was playing a show with nothing but a half filled barrel of lit kerosene for warmth. Mid-way through the performance, a fight broke out on the dance floor between two men, spilling the flaming barrel’s contents over the floor. The hall went up in flames and as people were fleeing the dance hall, King was seen running back INTO the burning building, having forgotten his $30 Gibson in the blaze. Two men died in the fire and the next day he learned that the fight between the men was over a woman named “Lucille”. He named the black Gibson Epiphone after the coveted lady as a reminder to never fight over a woman or do anything as stupid as running into a burning building again! He continued the tradition with every subsequent guitar he ever owned, even releasing an album and a song after his sweet Lucille.
A man that lived for music and for Blues will be remembered forever and will carry on as a great teacher for musicians of all stature, all over the world.
Thank you B.B and thank you Lucille.
We’ll leave you with one of his best performances with the Bobby Blue Band