May 15, 2015

"B. B. stood for Blues Boy, a name he took with his first taste of fame in the 1940s.... But he was born a King, albeit in a sharecropper’s shack..."

"He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim. He was embraced by rock ’n’ roll fans of the 1960s and ’70s.... Mr. King considered a 1968 performance at the Fillmore West, the San Francisco rock palace, to have been the moment of his commercial breakthrough, he told a public-television interviewer in 2003. A few years earlier, he recalled, an M.C. in an elegant Chicago club had introduced him thus: 'O.K., folks, time to pull out your chitlins and your collard greens, your pigs’ feet and your watermelons, because here is B. B. King.'... When he saw 'long-haired white people' lining up outside the Fillmore, he said, he told his road manager, 'I think they booked us in the wrong place.' Then the promoter Bill Graham introduced him to the sold-out crowd: '“Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the chairman of the board, B. B. King.'"

B. B. King has died. He was 89.

18 comments:

Mick said...

For Lucille the thrill is gone...

St. George said...

"Don't Get Around Much Anymore

B.B. King, vocal
Duke Ellington Orchestra

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Let's hope Rick Santorum takes this opportunity to denounce B.B. King as a sexual predator.

And Doris Day.

Matt Busby.

Dig it.

Patrick said...

If she's not already, Lucille will be ob the Smithsonian. RIP.

Beta Rube said...

Sirius channel 70 should have a great tribute today. I'm looking forward to my errands.

RIP BB.

tim in vermont said...

I so enjoyed cancelling Sirius. Now that I have bluetooth in the car and can play Pandora or Spotify from my phone, Sirius and their inane hosts and their left-wing politics are long gone.

Tank said...

A great guitarist and a great singer too. I have two live albums, Cook County Jail and Live at the Regal. Sweet. The contribution that the three Kings made to R & R is immeasurable.

chickelit said...

He lived a long. rich life--more so than others in his genre.

Herb said...

As it happens, I saw B.B. King at the Fillmore West in 1968. He was fantastic and could really make Lucille cry and sing. What a night to remember. I was sitting on the floor next to a guy in a wheelchair who kept pulling joints out from the tray under his seat, lighting them, taking a toke and passing them own, unfortunately always to the girl who sat on the other side of him... But the smoke was so thick you got a buzz just by breathing.

Oso Negro said...

Saw BB at Antones a couple times when it was on 6th a Street in Austin back in the1970s. He certainly did his thing.

Scott said...

Two weekends ago my brother, his wife, and I were exploring the gigantic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, looking for famous people.

DeWitt Clinton has a monument in which he is mounted on a horse. It's in a circle. It's rather big. They must have thought a lot of him back in the day.

We also saw the graves of Leonard Bernstein and Louis Tiffany. They are just ordinary graves. Bernstein is buried next to family members and has some tasteful shrubbery bordering the plots.

I guess size doesn't matter.

Roughcoat said...

Back in the mid-70s I worked at a tiny music club in Denver called "Ebbets Field." One night the wonderful Muddy Waters and his band were playing when, just a little before midnight, B.B. King and his entourage came in. B.B. had just finished playing to a sold-out audience at a large concert venue nearby and he decided to drop by our place to check out his old pal and fellow bluesman from Chicago. He watched Muddy and the gang play for a few minutes and then Muddy invited him up on stage; and so, up he went. They played and sang together well past the 2:00 am closing time. We just kept the place open and the cops didn't mind. It was the most amazing concert I have ever seen. Exciting and joyous and loud! The joint was jumpin'! Being from Chicago myself, it was indescribably thrilling to watch these two men do what they did best, and better than anyone else in the world. Afterward we all sat around over drinks and talked. The sun was coming up when I finally went home. I knew Muddy from many previous engagements and I can tell you he was just the most loveable guy. I had never met B.B. before this encounter and I can also tell you that he was also a great guy, a gentleman, soft-spoken and easy-going, very modest, a pleasure to to talk to.

Anonymous said...

As a guitarist I've always marveled at how BB could get so many evocative sounds out of one note just with his vibrato and micro-bends. He always struck me as the most sophisticated of the blues players.
I am surprised at just how sad I feel.

Fabi said...

Very nicely said, Livermoron. I'm surprised at how much the news of his death has ruined my day.

Fritz said...

Mick said...
For Lucille the thrill is gone...,


How Lucille got her name. . .

In the winter of 1949, King played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. In order to heat the hall, a barrel half-filled with kerosene was lit, a fairly common practice at the time. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over the burning barrel and sending burning fuel across the floor. The hall burst into flames, and the building was evacuated. Once outside, King realized that he had left his guitar inside so he went back into the burning building to retrieve his beloved $30 Gibson guitar. Two men died in the fire, and King learned the next day that they had been fighting over a woman named Lucille. King subsequently named that first guitar Lucille, as well as every guitar he has owned since, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.

eddie willers said...

"Who's Bob?"

AReasonableMan said...

Livermoron said...
As a guitarist I've always marveled at how BB could get so many evocative sounds out of one note just with his vibrato and micro-bends. He always struck me as the most sophisticated of the blues players.
I am surprised at just how sad I feel.


Couldn't agree more.

It's a cliche, but you could often hear just one note and know he was the player. A very distinctive voice. I've sat and learnt some of his solos but never felt I got the feel of his playing.

He is arguably the first real electric guitarist, someone who played in a very different way than you would play an acoustic instrument. He changed the way people approached the instrument similar to the change in singing styles that accompanied close microphone recording techniques. His playing was more subtle and nuanced than any previous player because amplification could pick up every interaction between his fingers and the guitar strings.

Christy said...

Well said, Livermoran.