VIDEO: Obama joins B.B. King on ‘Sweet Home Chicago’; Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, others remember King
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In 2012, President Obama joined B.B. King for a few lines of “Sweet Home Chicago” during the blues legend’s performance at a White House blues concert.
King died Thursday at the age of 89 in Las Vegas.
In a statement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said:
“B.B. King brought blues from Mississippi to the mainstream. Through his velvety voice and his guitar, Lucille, he influenced the most famous musicians in the world, but more importantly, his music comforted people when they needed it most. Anyone could sing a song about falling in love, but only Mr. King could sing a song about heartbreak. Today, everyone’s hearts are heavier with the passing of the greatest bluesman in history. May he and Lucille continue to play on in eternity.”
On Friday, Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy remembered his longtime friend thusly:
“When you lose someone like [B.B. King] there’s always a little pain in the neck, but like my mother told me as a youngster, son if you don’t want to leave here you better not come here. …
“It’s a loss to the world –– I see these people come up with these guitar lists and put us in order, 1 to 100, and I think he was always No. 5, but if all the guitar players in the world of rock and blues have something to say he should be No. 1.
“He was the father of squeezing strings on guitar and those shoes will never be fulfilled – almost like great athletes Joe Lewis, Rocky Montana, Muhammad Ali, the good ones come along but nobody will ever be able to play like BB King. Of course we have the ones that come up and get to be superstars playing special effects, but he didn’t have effects. His effect was his left hand.”
In a 2013 Rolling Stone interview, B.B. King said:”The crowds treat me like my last name. When I go onstage people usually stand up, I never ask them to, but they do. They stand up and they don’t know how much I appreciate it.”
Eric Clapton remembered King via a Facebook video post on Friday, thanking King for his “inspiration.” Clapton and King collaborated on the 2000 album “Riding With the King.”
The Twittersphere reacted to the death of King on Friday:
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) May 15, 2015
— Newport Folk Fest (@Newportfolkfest) May 15, 2015
— Keb’ Mo’ (@kebmomusic) May 15, 2015
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) May 15, 2015
— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) May 15, 2015
— CedricTheEntertainer (@CedEntertainer) May 15, 2015
Contributing: Selena Fragassi