Almost 3 years to the day and I’ve once again managed to let life get in the way of writing about the music I love. I honestly never thought I would feel inspired enough to ever grace this blog again. So much in my life has changed I couldn’t possibly get into it here, maybe some day I’ll write a book. But I’m here now and it’s about time!
Time to finish what I started long ago. A simple list of great songs by great musicians. The Top 15 Best Blues Songs of All Time! Something you could show a friend or family member who doesn’t know what the blues are, or someone who thinks they know but doesn’t really. Here, you can find out. Here, you will know.
Coming in at number 2 is one of the heaviest hitters of all time. He played in almost every country on the planet and helped maybe more than anyone to spread his blues throughout the world. And yes the blues are worldwide and have been since the 50’s and 60’s largely due to this man. Mr. Riley B. King, or as we know him…..B.B. King.
Riley B. King (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015), known professionally as B.B. King, was an American blues singer-songwriter, guitarist, and record producer. He introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending, shimmering vibrato and staccato picking that influenced many later blues electric guitar players. All Music recognized King as “the single most important electric guitarist of the last half of the 20th century”.
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is one of the most influential blues musicians of all time, earning the nickname “The King of the Blues”, and is considered one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” (along with Albert King and Freddie King, none of whom are blood related). King performed tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing on average at more than 200 concerts per year into his 70s. In 1956 alone, he appeared at 342 shows.
King was born on a cotton plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi, and later worked at a cotton gin in Indianola, Mississippi. He was attracted to music and the guitar in church, and began his career in juke joints and local radio. He later lived in Memphis, Tennessee and Chicago, and as his fame grew, toured the world extensively. King died at the age of 89 in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 14, 2015.
Though BB king has a ton of music, any of which would fit perfectly on this list there’s always been one that stands out to me and pulls my heart strings. I’m Talkin’ About that Hummingbird…..
Wiki Hummingbird (1955 song)
“Hummingbird” is a popularsong written by Don Robertson released in 1955. The best-known version of the song was the recording by Les Paul and Mary Ford (recorded July 9, 1955; Capitol Records catalog number 3165). This version reached #7 on the Billboard chart. It was also recorded at about the same time by Frankie Laine (Columbia Records catalog number 40526, reaching #17 on the chart) and by The Chordettes (Cadence Records catalog number 1267). On the Cash Box magazine Best-Selling Record chart, where all versions were combined, the song reached #6 in 1955.
“Hummingbird” by Leon Russell – a solo written and recorded by Russell on his self-titled album Leon Russell (1970) and on the Joe Cocker album Mad Dogs and Englishman (also 1970). It was later recorded by B.B. King solo and over the years with others, such as with John Mayer on the album B. B. King & Friends: 80 (2005) and with Russell and former Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh on the B.B. King disc His Definitive Greatest Hits (1999). Another version of this song appears on the former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page solo album Outrider (1988). Joe Bonamassa has covered the song, including a version on his “Live at Carnegie Hall” CD and Blu-ray.
Sadly there’s not much information about BB King playing Hummingbird other than this was simply a cover that he did. Obviously in my opinion he did this song the best that I’ve ever heard.
I was lucky enough to see him perform live in Dallas Texas where he brought out a young boy to play guitar for a bit named Johnny Lang. Lang was just a kid maybe 15 or 16 years old. BB was famous for doing that. He loved seeing blues and rock being played by the youth of the world and in fact helped to start many famous musician’s careers.
~BB King with a young Joe Bonamassa (12 yrs old)
Will never forget Joe Bonamassa (New York, 1977) his first day of school, after the summer, in September 1989. He was 12 years old. The teacher asked the students to write an essay about what they had done during the holidays and he recounted in detail a supposed tour with BB King, already at that time one of the most famous blues guitarists in the world. “Joe, please stop making things up in your world of jelly beans and fantasy!” She reproached him. “Luckily I had my backstage pass,” he recalled in «The Telegraph» the day of his idol’s death in 2015.
~BB was a support for all the people involved in the tour, with whom he had formed a kind of community. That’s how he felt. If you ask guitarists Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, they will tell you the same thing. BB King was always very fatherly and loving towards younger musicians.
~BB King with Billy Gibbons of ZZ top
~BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan