Things are a little bit different today in The Tune Up. Instead of featuring a new song I think everybody should give a listen, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about the passing of a legend. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that BB King passed away over the weekend. Now, I know King wasn’t as famous or known in the last few years but his impact in music is far reaching and worth mentioning.
The name BB King and blues music are almost synonymous. I mean, his nickname was literally The King of Blues – you don’t get more to the point than that. His influence spans many genres and many decades. Rock and roll music as we know it today wouldn’t exist in the same format if it wasn’t for King’s touch. From Eric Clapton to Jay-Z to John Mayer, many musicians cite BB King as somebody who inspired them along the way. BB King’s history is closely woven into the music history, even when we don’t always realize it.
King was excellent at bending and plucking the strings in a way that led to a shimmering vibrato that in only a few notes could encompass everything blues music had to offer. There was a depth and dimension to his songs that truly showcased the spectrum of human emotions with just a sound.
There weren’t many musical honors that BB King didn’t rack up over his career. From being a member of The GRAMMY Hall of Fame to a recipient of the National Medal of Arts he pretty much did it all. Some of his greatest accomplishments came with his trusty guitar sidekick Lucille. Both Rolling Stone and Gibson ranked the duo amongst their top guitarists.
While there were plenty of notable hits under King’s belt, none were more of a signature song than “The Thrill is Gone” – a true blues classic. It was released in 1969. King’s interpretation was much more polished and included additional touches such as added strings that the original production didn’t.
To continue with King’s musical honors, “The Thrill is Gone” is ranked as no. 33 in the greatest guitar solos ever from Guitar World. I’d say that’s pretty notable.
Here’s to you BB King.
What BB King song was your favorite? Do you have any memories tied to his music?
P.S. – If you love the blues feel and sound of BB King, you’re going to LOVE newcomer Leon Bridges.
Until next time,