Farewell to the King
"The Thrill is gone baby,the thrill is gone...”'-B.B. King
On May 14, 2015 we lost the king of the blues, B.B. King.
Born Riley B. King in Berclair, Mississippi On September 16,1925 to a sharecropper family, he first began his career singing gospel but soon embraced the blues due to not making money singing gospel.
His beloved guitar "Lucille," his steady companion throughout his career, was so named during a venue in a small country town where two men started a fight over a woman named Lucille and knocked over a kerosene lamp in the process which engulfed the club in flames.
B.B. rushed back inside to rescue his guitar while the building was burning and named it Lucille to remind him never to fight over a woman. He created his own style of playing guitar which is used and taught by multitudes of guitarists to this day..
B.B. was the recipient of numerous awards and honors including an honorary doctorate of music from Yale University as well as being inducted in both the Blues and Rock and Roll Halls of fame.
B.B. was truly a poverty scholar and still managed to succeed in pulling himself out of poverty and be a world renowned performer.
Unfortunately he was unable to avoid controversy in his death. Two of his surviving daughters allege that he was poisoned by his manager and personal attendant. They could not be reached for comments.
Several years back I wrote about taking money from my reverse poverty scholarship fund to see B.B. at the Fillmore. During the show B.B. took a brief break from singing and playing speaking to the crowd he said " you know sometimes I just think about giving it all up i'm old and my health is fading" Then he asked " what do you all think I should do?" Of course the crowd begged him not to stop. Then He started singing and playing one of his best known songs " The thrill is gone"
And now that he is gone the thrill is truly gone.