Blues legend B.B. King died in June 2015, at the beloved guitarist was honored in perfect fashion at the 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Monday night. The man who became an icon of the blues and whose guitar “Lucille” was almost as famous as he was himself, B.B. King was given a moving and pitch-perfect tribute.
Following an introduction by blues rock legend Bonnie Raitt, Gary Clark, Jr and Chris Stapleton opened the soulful and smokey rendition of B.B. King’s 1970 mainstream breakthrough hit “The Thrill Is Gone.” Clark, of course, graced the performance with some of his own bluesy string-bends, emulating the genre’s greatest ambassador with effortless style.
Midway through the performance, Bonnie Raitt re-emerged to add her own sexy slide guitar lines to the blues standard, reminding (and educating) music fans who may not be aware that she’s one of the best guitarists in music.
In closing out the tribute, Raitt, Stapleton and Clark all did variations on King’s signature single string style.
With a visual montage of footage from King’s past Grammy appearances projected behind the performers, the performance was as evocative of a dank, hole-in-the-wall blues club as a major awards show in an erena can possibly get. A fitting way to celebrate and show love to the man who became the face of the blues for generations of music fans.