Legendary blues artist B.B. King passed away on Thursday at the age of 89. While the world loses one of the more iconic blues guitarists of many generations (if not all-time), we celebrate his work and his life as one of the more influential artists -- especially among those of us who try to play a sound that he fine-tuned into a soul-crushing foot-tapping, finger-snapping. His career path is well-documented:
But he was born a King, albeit in a sharecropper’s shack surrounded by dirt-poor laborers and wealthy landowners. Mr. King went out on the road and never came back after one of his first recordings reached the top of the rhythm-and-blues charts in 1951. He began in juke joints, country dance halls and ghetto nightclubs, playing 342 one-night stands in 1956 and 200 to 300 shows a year for a half-century thereafter, rising to concert halls, casino main stages and international acclaim.
We say goodbye to the man known as Blues Boy. And since this is a Bengals website, we're going to view some of our favorite B.B. King songs and relate them somehow to the Bengals.
Sweet Little Angel:
Sweet Little Angel is something so perfect, so pure, that you can't criticize or make fun of it without significant feedback. You might think significant other, child, or any relationship with emotional (though touching) ties. If we're making the Bengals connection here, we're thinking of a player who promotes innocence with an "aw shucks" persona and a hardening fanbase that overreacts when criticizing is applied on this person. In other words, Andy Dalton.
Thrill is Gone:
The Bengals made the playoffs in 2011. Sweet. They returned in 2012. Nice. Hey look, it's 2013 and the Bengals are back. So? It's 2014 and the Bengals qualified for the postseason. Did they win a postseason game? No. Then I don't care. I'll be miserable for 364 days out of the year because of a miserable three-hour segment in the wild card round. Clearly when the Bengals make the postseason, the thrill is completely gone.
Ten Long Years:
Joined by Eric Clapton on several live collaborations, another great blues guitarist, Ten Long Years talks about a woman that B.B. King spent ten years with before leaving. This is like some Bengals reactions when thinking about some of the veteran players on this squad; one of whom had their run ended recently.
Riding With the King:
I dreamt I had a good job and I got well paid
I blew it all at the penny arcade
A hundred dollars on the Cupid doll
No pretty chic is gonna make me crawl
Who could we compare these lyrics to on the Bengals roster? Hum. Let's ponder this one for a minute (by the way, the weatherman didn't say that it was going to rain today).
Everyday I have the Blues:
If you're old enough, this was our theme song in the 90s -- more specifically, anything that happened between Sam Wyche and Marvin Lewis. Had the internet been as powerful back then as it is today, I'm sure we'd have strung together a campaign to replace Welcome to the Jungle with Everyday I have the Blues... but that would probably impact free agent signings. Not really. Sing it B.B.
What's your favorite B.B. King song?