B.B. King is one of my favourite singers.
And, obviously, one of the most influential guitarists of all time.
He has died, aged 89.
First saw him at the Royal Albert Hall, supported by Fleetwood Mac, soon after Albatross was No.1.
Saw him again at the Rainbow and was in the dressing room with him and Dee, a young publicist for ABC Records. BB took photos of us with his new toy, a Polaroid camera.
Decades later I interviewed him for The Scotsman.
The etiquette on such interviews was that you asked questions and when your cassette clicked off after 45 minutes, you stood up, shook hands, and made way for the next journalist.
My behaviour that day was very rude and selfish.
When my cassette clicked off far too soon, I turned it over and carried on asking questions – and nobody interrupted us.
I was having such a fantastic afternoon, listening to B.B. talking about the last time he saw Charlie Parker, and about the moment when, driving to a gig with his band, a song came on the radio and one of his guys said, “Ain’t that the white boy who used to rehearse next door to us?”
It was Elvis Presley’s first single.
Meanwhile, a line of journos had formed in the corridor outside the hotel room, including a film crew who were there to talk to him about Jimi Hendrix and the blues, but I didn’t care. I wasn’t deliberately rude and selfish very often.
My favourite album of his by far is Blues Is King. recorded live in Chicago in 1966.
I’ve been listening to the CD while I’ve been typing this.
Darryl Hunt of The Pogues turned me on to that album.
And as long as I’m listening to Blues Is King, B.B is still alive .
Yes, B.B. King was of the most enjoyable interviews I ever did, right up there with Dr John, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and Sarah McLachlan. What a lovely girl she is.
In those days, journalism really was fun.