Friday, May 15, 2015

RIP B.B. King

"The blues? It's the mother of American music. That's what it is. The source." — Riley B. "B.B." King

B.B. King. 1925-2015

B.B. King. Never has a surname been more apropos.

He was called "The King of the Blues" and with great reason. It is very hard to overstate how important he was to 20th century music. And 21st century music. And how important he will be to 22nd century music. Influential? How about Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler and Jimmy Page and Keith Richards? All of whom count B.B. among the biggest inspirations for their careers. How about Jimi Hendrix? How about John Lennon, who name-checked him in a song and once said that if he were teamed with B.B. King he would "feel real silly." How about Elvis Presley, who counted B.B. as a hero and a friend?

Yes. B.B. King was that big.

And that important.

And that great.

And now he is gone, passed on from this great life at age 89.


But Lord did he give us the music for these past 60 years or so. Including this, the leadoff track of easily one of the greatest live albums ever released.

I'll give the last word to a man who likely knew B.B. as well as anyone, as well as someone who knew about touching the level of greatness that B.B. touched.

"B.B. King was the greatest guy I ever met. The tone he got out of that guitar, the way he shook his left wrist, the way he squeezed the, he came out with that and it was all new to the whole guitar playin' world. He could play so smooth, he didn't have to put on a show. The way B.B. did it is the way we all do it now. He was my best friend and father to us all. I'll miss you, B. I love you and I promise I will keep these damn blues alive. Rest well." — Buddy Guy

Rest in peace, B.B. And thank you a million times over for, as Buddy said, keeping these damn blues alive.

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