Boilermaker Blog


I thought I’d take a slight detour off the Boilermaker course and speak about the passing of Mr. Riley B. King perhaps better known as B.B. King.
I am somewhat a music lover. I can listen to pretty much anything from Sinatra to Empire of the Sun (which blew my kid’s minds that I knew about Empire of the Sun).
However while I enjoy a diverse range of music I especially enjoy rock and my belief has been that the golden age of rock was between the years 1967-71.
Some have said that people always believe music was best when they were teenagers.
I guess it fits as I was 13 in 1967.
It felt like a huge personal tragedy with the passing of Jim, Jimi and Janise (Morrison, Hendrix and Joplin respectively). They are charter members of’ The 27 Club’: musicians who died at 27 years of age. I guess they just weren’t built for old age: or even worse disco.
While I never was a he blues listener at a younger age, the bands I did listen to certainly made me appreciate the style.
The roots of bands like Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones and Cream were solidly built around the blues.
But back to B.B….
Born dirt poor in Mississippi, mother left when he was 4 years old a life that seemed destined to produce the blues.
A couple of fun facts:
How did he get the name B.B.?
Early in his career B.B. worked as a DJ with the moniker Blues Boy, this was later shortened to the now famous B.B..
Why the naming of his guitar Lucille?
While playing a club in Arkansas a fight broke out between two men which precipitated a fire burning down the joint. Later King found out both men who were fighting over a woman named (you guessed it) Lucille perished in the blaze. King promptly named his guitar Lucille as a permanent reminder never to fight over a woman.
He was a tireless performer often performing 300 times a year!
B.B. played in Utica twice: once in 1989 with current blues performer, and locally born, Joe Bonamassa opening at the age of 12!
One of things I found interesting was for a person singing the blues B.B. seemed to come across as a pretty happy guy.
How funny singing about sadness seemed to bring him (and others) joy.
So music losses a legend: a bit of the thrill really is gone.

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