Hangin with The King
The “King of the Blues” BB King passed away at the age of 89 yesterday, it saddened me because I was a genuine fan of his music, of his spirit and of course his talent which seemed to come so easy to him.
I met BB King briefly about 13 years ago at his club in New York which had only been opened for a year or two. I was hosting a show there and he was of course the main attraction on an artist filled evening that I won’t ever forget. He had been getting a little heat for not showing up at his New York club enough to satisfy the throng of tourists that expected him to be there every night since his name was on the marquis.I asked him about that and he said “listen young man; I’ve been on the road all my life, if they want to find me that’s where I’ll be.”
He was on the road even in his 70’s and fighting diabetes he still had over 70-80 road dates each year. I asked him where he got the name of BB…he told me that back in Mississippi when he would play as a kid, there was a group of older men that he would jam with and they named him “Blues Boy”, hence the initials BB.
One of my favorite albums of his is a direct to disc recording that I have of BB King with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Joe Sample and the Crusaders recorded live in London. Take a listen; it’s BB at his best. Long live the King of the Blues, the Thrill is Gone.