Blues Lovers Mourn the Passing of B.B. King
(AP) Blues legend B.B. King died in Las Vegas last night at the age of 89.
Attorney Brent Bryson tells The Associated Press that King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT Thursday at his home in Las Vegas.
The one-time farmhand brought new fans to the blues and influenced a generation of musicians with his heartfelt vocals and soaring guitar on songs such as "The Thrill Is Gone."
King sold millions of records worldwide and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
King played a Gibson guitar that he affectionately called Lucille and was not only the undisputed king of the blues but a mentor to scores of guitarists including Eric Clapton.
He was awarded his 15th Grammy in 2009 in the traditional blues album category for "One Kind Favor."
I remember on my first trip to Beale Street in Memphis. I was with a group of women from rural areas in the Black Belt, and one of the highlights of that trip for them was going to "B.B. King's Restaurant." You would've thought B.B. King was going to be there and performing. (*whispering* I think they expected him to be there..... and performing.)
We entered and were welcomed by an extremely diverse crowd, dancing to the music played by the performer on the stage. Everyone seemed to be having a good time but because there were no tables available, we left and ventured the rest of Beale Street. Eventually, we came back to King's place before returning to our hotel.
I remember hearing the ladies call their loved ones back home and excitedly describing the restaurant. I wasn't the one that took them, but I was still happy to have shared that moment with them. Now that "the king" has passed, it goes without saying that he will be missed, but his music will live forever. The thrill isn't gone; the man is.