We asked two News4 reporters who love the blues for their picks for essential B.B. King songs that you should add to your playlist now.
Derrick Ward is a musician who plays a little blues in King's honor; Mark Segraves saw King perform more than 20 times in venues from a church basement to stadiums. Here's their list:
"Everyday I Have the Blues": A blues classic that B.B. recorded in 1955. King said of the arrangement by his manager, Maxwell Davis, "I liked it so well, I made it my theme."
"Better Not Look Down": On King's 1979 record, "Take it Home," where King played with pop influences. AllMusic called this version "gospel-tinged."
Derrick Ward Jams on One of B.B. King's Guitars
"The Thrill is Gone": This blues classic was a huge hit for King in 1970 from his 1969 record, "Completely Well." The slicker, more produced sound of his recording also won King a Grammy for Best Male R&B Performance and a Grammy Hall of Fame award. He also recorded several live versions.
"When Love Comes to Town" (with U2): Like many blues-trained artists, King was a skilled collaborator. He recorded "When Love Comes to Town" with U2 for the 1988 album "Rattle and Hum."
"Let the Good Times Roll" (with Bobby Bland ): It's been covered by almost everyone, but King's version with Bobby Bland is a standout from the classic live album, "Bobby Bland and B. B. King Together Again...Live."
"Nobody Loves Me But My Mother, and She Could Be Jivin' Too": Is any explanation needed besides the name?
"Three O'Clock Blues": His first hit, and one he returned to throughout his career. King recorded it in September, 1951.
"You Upset Me, Baby": Let's just say "All About That Bass" did not invent the musical tradition of honoring women with ample derrieres. From 1954, this was an early hit for King.
"Chains and Things": Rolling Stone called this one of King's 10 greatest songs (along with several other songs on this list) and said its haunting hook came when King "hit the wrong note and worked my way out of it. ... We got the arranger to have the strings follow it."
"Lucille": The queen of all the "talking to your guitar" songs. There's a great story behind King's decision to name his guitars Lucille; it involves two men, one woman, a barrel of kerosene and a daring fire rescue.
"Done Lost Your Good Thing Now": First appeared on 1961's "My Kind of Blues." AllMusic calls the intro to this song "a pure distillation of his style."
"Recession Blues": Blues themes with an economics twist. Lyrics include: "Yes, I can't afford no liquor / All I can buy is beer and wine / Yes, I can't afford no liquor people / All I can buy is beer and wine / Well I can get my baby what she wants / And she stays cross all the time."
“Catfish Blues”: An early song with more traditional instrumentation. It's stripped down, yet powerful.