Posted by: Dahni | May 16, 2015

BB & Lucille

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by Dahni
© 2015, all rights reserved



Influences and how things live on could have been my title here? But influences are about men and women, one by one, all at the right time and place when they are needed. One by one, it is a few that alter the course of the lives of many. And here, this is about one man and one guitar named, B.B. and Lucille.

In the 19th century, inventions, crude by our standards today were born. In particular, I am referring to the recording of image and sound and the transmission of the these visuals and sounds. The 19th century might have been the birth, but these all grew up in the 20th century. With the ability to overdub, and multi-tracking and various mediums to store it, we can listen to sound, whenever we want. After electricity became the mainstay in the United States and then the world, microphones could be used to record sound ‘LIVE.’ This made it possible, for us to hear sound like it was happening, when and where it was happening and without our having to be there. And with radio, moving pictures or motion pictures, and television, we could hear and see something ‘LIVE.’ With recorded sound and the storage mediums to delivery it, motion pictures and television to see and hear it, the telephone to tell people about it, the Internet and social media to spread it, and all of these grew up in the 20th century. And as wonderful as all these things then and now were and are, it is music that grew up which is, probably the most significant and important thing of our lives then and now. With these influences, we did not have to be there and miss stuff, but with recorded visuals and sounds, we can be there again and again!

Images we see may call up other images (stills or animated) stored in our memories. Sounds may bring back other images and other sounds of our mind’s recorded past. But music, ahh music, it can trigger every one of our five senses and every emotion we felt when we first heard it and perhaps, every time we do.

In the 19th century, Jazz was born and it grew up in the 20th Century. It is called one of America’s original “art forms.” Out of these were born and grew, the blues and rock n’ roll, two more of our “original art forms.” All three were born and grew up in the black American community. I love all kinds of music and maybe because, I was born and grew up here, I am prone to favor these three. But if I had to choose just one, It would have to be the blues.

In order for there to be music, there has to be musicians and songwriters. If sung, there must be lyricists and singers. Sometimes, all come together from the same source. All my favorites grew up in the 20th century. My three favorite guitarists grew up in the 20th century. I grew up in the 20th century. I would not have known classic music if it were not for cartoons of the 20th century. My parents loved big band and swing, the soloists like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra among others. I heard this music, but it was not until I was older that I learned to appreciate these like I do now. And it prepared me for the likes of Chris Botti and Michael Buble among others that currently carry-on from their influences like Miles Davis and Frank Sinatra. But I grew up with B.B. King and Lucille!

It has been said that you can’t write the blues, unless you’ve had them or have got them. Maybe you can’t love hearing the blues, unless you’ve had them or you’ve got them. There is some jazz I don’t quite get and some rock I don’t particularly care for, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a blues song that I did not love. But jazz, rock and the blues all grew out of what was called, ‘negro spirituals.’ Whatever the situation, it was depth of feeling being expressed. B.B. King says it best!


“The blues was bleeding the same blood as me.”

 B.B. King



B.B. & Lucille


Long before the two men he greatly influenced (my other two favorite guitarists), Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, I was growing up with B.B. King and Lucille. I never got to see and hear any of these men in concert. But there is a plethora of their recorded music, ‘Live’ recordings and videos! But I wonder if like I once did not know, I wonder how many people know, how many people, B.B. King has influenced and still does?

Who was this man, B.B. King?

B.B. King – September 16, 1925, born Riley B. King,  was an American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist.

On May 1st, 2015 he sent the following message to his fans, by way of his website.

“I am in home hospice care at my residence in Las Vegas. Thanks to all for your well wishes and prayers.”

B.B. King

According to the official statement on his website,, he died peaceably in his sleep at 9:40 pm PT, May 14th, 2015. He was 89.

Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 3 on its 2003 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.  He was ranked No. 17 in Gibson’s “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.”

According to Edward M. Komara, King “introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that would influence virtually every electric blues guitarist that followed.” Many tried to be like him, the guitarist from Fleetwood Mac was close, but there was no one like B.B. King!

King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “The King of Blues,” and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” (along with Albert King and Freddie King).

King was also known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s. In 1956, he reportedly appeared at 342 shows. And why? Let his own words answer!

“Yes, I could have retired when I was 65 and could have lived comfortably from then on—but that’s not the point. The point now is because I love to play.”

 B.B. King

In 1990, King was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President George H.W. Bush. In 2006, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush He is widely regarded as one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time, inspiring countless other electric blues and blues rock guitarists.

   “It seemed as if he’d go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It’s what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road.”

“He played on street corners before heading to Memphis, Tenn., where he stayed with his cousin, the great country blues man Bukka White. His career took off thanks to radio; he got a spot on the radio show of Sonny Boy Williamson II, then landed his own slot on black-run WDIA in Memphis. He needed a handle. At first it was Beale Street Blues Boy. Then Blues Boy King. Finally B.B. King stuck.” 

excerpts from ‘B.B. King, Legendary Blues Guitarist, Dies At 89’ by Tom Cole, Editor Arts Desk, NPR


Besides his name sticking, the name Lucille stuck too. In 1949, in Twist, Arkansas, B.B. was there to play for a dance. He was in his twenties and his first guitar was about a $30 acoustic. Not worth much? And what about the place where he played?

“They would take something that looked like a big garbage pail, half fill it with kerosene, light that fuel [and] set it in the middle of the dance floor.”

B.B. King

Well, on that night, a fight broke out between two men, and the pail was knocked over.

 “It spilled on the floor, it looked like a river fire,” the guitarist said. “And everyone started to run for the front door.” And that included, B.B. King.

He made it to safety, but then he realized he left his guitar inside and ran back in to get it, blazing; roaring flames and all. He raced back inside to retrieve it even as the wooden building, he said, “started to fall in around me.” B.B., claimed, “Almost lost my life, rushing back into the nightclub.” 

Having survived this ordeal and having rescued his guitar, he would later name it, “to remind me never to do a thing like that again!” B.B. King

The next day, he learned that two men had died in the blaze. The whole train of events started with a fight between them, over a woman that worked at the club. And what do you suppose her name was?

So, B.B. King decided to name his guitar Lucille, as a reminder to never do something as foolish as he did then, ever again, and to never get into a fight, over a woman!

It is said that B.B. King had as many a 16 guitars and each one he named, Lucille. 

“The sound he got out of her was what set him apart. Playing high up on the neck, he’d push a string as he picked it, bending the note to make it cry. He didn’t burn a lot of fast licks, but you could feel each note he played. Nobody sounded like B.B. King,”  

He was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’87. He was so beloved that he received honorary degrees from the Berklee College of Music as well as Yale and Brown universities, among others.

In 1970, he scored a crossover hit with “The Thrill Is Gone.” It’s the tune everyone knows — classic B.B. King: Lucille’s piercing single notes punctuating each phrase.” 

“The thrill is gone.
The thrill is gone away from me.
Although I’ll still live on,
But so lonely I’ll be. “

B.B. King

 excerpts from ‘B.B. King, Legendary Blues Guitarist, Dies At 89’ by Tom Cole, Editor Arts Desk, NPR


Two Kings – Elvis Presley and B.B. King


B.B. King was a great influence to Elvis Presley. They met and played together. Presley may have been the first white rocker to spread the gospel of the blues to a wide audience, but right behind him were the Rolling Stones, whose name itself evolved from a Muddy Waters tune. King opened for them on their historic 1969 tour of America, and in his recent book, Blues Odyssey, Stones bassist Bill Wyman recalls the impression the guitarist had on him.

“The thing that always stunned me about his playing was the way he would hammer it out and then just go down to a whisper.”


Jimi Hendrix & B.B. King LIVE jam, 1968

In 1968, Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King played together in a ‘LIVE’ jam at the Generation Club in New York City. This club may have been the inspiration for Hendrix to form his Electric Ladyland Studio, to do live recordings with other artists. By the way, the first name of Jimi’s mother is, Lucille. Videos of this ‘jam’ are available on, You Tube.

In England for a time, there were signs and people were saying, “Clapton is God.” Jimi Hendrix went to England and somehow was able to jam with Eric Clapton. Clapton was totally blown away! Hendrix was, “a force of Nature!” But both of these men were influenced by The King,

B.B. King!

And there are at least ten names (maybe more) that might have never been known, had it not been for B.B. King:

 * Allman Brothers * Cream * Fleetwood Mac * Jimi Hendrix * Johnny Winter* Paul Butterfield  * Robert Cray * Santana  *  Stevie & Jimmy Ray Vaughn *  ZZ Top  

B.B. King greatly influenced the Beatles. His influence continues. Someone once told John Mayer, “Mayer, you sound like Eric Clapton. ” Mayer didn’t even blink and just simply, clearly and enthusiastically replied, “Thank You!”

“He was a beacon for all of us who love this kind of music. If you’re not familiar with his work, I would encourage you to go out and find an album called B.B. King Live at the Regal, which is where it all really started for me as a young player.”

 Eric Clapton

Clapton did get the opportunity to voice his appreciation of King’s talent when the two collaborated on 2000’s Running With the King, which won the Grammy that year for best traditional blues album. In the CD’s liner notes, both guitarists rave about how the project was a long-unfulfilled dream come true. The question is: why did it take so long for them to make it happen?

“Well, for one thing,” notes King, “we were both with different companies, and these conglomerates are quite, oh, selfish, I guess—they don’t like to let the artists go and do things on other labels. And I think that’s the way our companies were; they weren’t too particular about sharin’ each of us with anyone else. Then our managers were finally able to convince them that it would be a good idea to do. But Clapton and I have been friends since we first met back in the ’60s. “I’ve always wanted to do something with him, but it’s like, you don’t ask friends to do things all the time—because you’re friends, you know what I mean? But I always wanted to, and when I heard him tell [TV’s] Larry King that he would like to do something with me, man, I was on cloud nine.”

B.B. King


Eric Clapton at the wheel with his Fender ‘strat’ in the front seat and B.B. King with ‘Lucille’ (a Gibson guitar) in the back.


The original Lucille was stolen, way back around 1950.

“I think the people that stole it didn’t know what they had. I offered up to $10,000 just to give it back, but they never did.”

B.B. King

 $10,000.00 for a $30 dollar guitar? It must have been pretty important to B.B.!

In his lifetime, he had has his own line of signature-model guitars built by Gibson, so anyone with enough money can buy a ‘Lucille’ of their own. “Of course, it’s not gonna sound like B.B.’s, ’cause you just can’t buy that magic touch. – unknown

To all the racists, race bait-ers, the knee-jerk reactors to the so-called under-privileged, the liberal minded lucky-pity-the-no-luck people, the quilt ridden white privileged, the seemingly perpetual ever expecting and accepting welfare recipients, the politically correct-incorrect crowd, and the anti-religious and the religious fanatics, —it’s NOT about the color of your skin, slavery of this country’s history, education, background, where you grew up or even poverty. Success or failure has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COLOR OF SKIN! There are people born into riches that have never earned them. There are people that have become wealthy on the backs of the work of others or from the hurts of others. Neither of these would I waste my time, to even give them the time of day. They mean nothing to me! B.B. King was, about as dark skinned and as poor as poor can be. He loved what he did, despite where he came from or the color of his skin. He daily gave his thanks and shared it with people like me, all over the world. It’s the color of your life, the color of your work ethics and the color of the music of your life that changes a life and touches the whole world!

In closing, If you could hear me B.B., I just want to thank you and Lucille, for all you have done for me personally and for all you have contributed to the world! RIP my dear, dear friend. And I call you my friend though we never met because, that’s how you made me feel. The “Thrill” will never be gone!” We have everything you left us and we still have Lucille!

           B.B. King and Lucille

B.B. King and Lucille


Just I-Magine,



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