I was really sad to hear the news on the radio this morning that BB King has died at the age of 89. All day I’ve heard tributes to his life and it really should be a celebration for a man who made such an amazing contribution to the history of music. There’s obviously not much that one can add to all the accounts I’ve heard today but I do have one very fond memory of meeting the man himself back in the 80s...
He was in the UK for some London concerts and being a great record collector was paying a visit to Dobells Record Store in Tower Street. My friend Les ran the Blues department and so invited me to pop into the store after hours when BB King would be there to buy some records. (Apparently Dobells had a better selection of Blues, Jazz and R&B records (vinyl at that time) than a lot of record stores in the States). Indeed, BB King was there when I arrived at the shop, together with Les and a musician from his band... just 4 of us in the store.
I was very nervous to speak to him as I was aware of the phrase 'you should never meet your heroes'. I needn’t have worried; he was really charming and friendly and very happy to chat for a while - mainly about music. For once my irrelevant knowledge came in useful when I told him that a track that he wanted, ('60 Minute Man' by the Dominoes) was available on one of the albums that Les had in stock... and he signed a copy of ‘Blues is King’ for me as well!!!
I’ll be playing that album later today.
A big thankyou to Mr King, rest in peace.