BB King, 1925-2015


C. 1966: Dig the Beatle boots.

“But the other part of me says, ‘Well, I wish I could just do it like B.B. King.’ If you put me with B.B., I’ll feel silly. … I really like B.B. King.” — John Lennon

Riley B. King, former disc jockey and blues guitarist, dead at age 89.

Few who enjoy this site have not enjoyed his music. Those who haven’t might take the time.

I’m no scholar of his vast (as in vast) recorded catalog. But you might start, as I did, with Boss of the Blues, a sometime-in-the-Sixties collection of Fifties sides, mostly R&B with large bands; or Live at the Regal (1971), thought to be by those who know (and I wouldn’t argue) one of the best live blues LPs in existence.

Or, as millions of others did, with his biggest hit, 1970’s “The Thrill is Gone,” which all morning has been providing obit after obit with a too-ready, too-fitting tagline.


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  1. Avatar ODIrony wrote:

    The thrill is gone….

  2. Aw, man. My cat AND B.B. King in the same week?

    This reality has some definite drawbacks, and don’t think I haven’t noticed.

  3. Avatar Hologram Sam wrote:

    I saw B.B. King in Boston in 1978. He really made his guitar sing.

    A few years ago I read a biography of Eddie (“Twenty Flight Rock”) Cochran and learned he’d jammed with B.B. King. I wish someone had been around with a tape recorder.

    Michael, I’m sorry to hear about your cat. Our little girl is aging, and it seems like only yesterday she was a kitten. Here’s a poem:

    We who choose to surround ourselves
    with lives even more temporary than our
    own, live within a fragile circle;
    easily and often breached.
    Unable to accept its awful gaps,
    we would still live no other way.
    We cherish memory as the only
    certain immortality, never fully
    understanding the necessary plan.
    — Irving Townsend

    • @Sam, that’s really lovely, thank you.

      Fifi was 19, and one of my dearest friends. She makes cameos in many of my books; there’s usually a Beatles reference, and Fifi. She sustained me through many years of great illness and loneliness, and I think I was a pretty good friend to her, too. I tried to be.

      Fifi was the exact opposite of the aloof stereotype; she used to guard me as I wrote! My wife did a student film around our relationship, which was so intense and connected that the audience assumed that Fifi was some sort of trained, professional stunt-cat. I loved her so, so much, and while I’m glad she’s not sick and hurting anymore, I miss her a great deal.

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