He was not just an icon of blues but of global music. Shoes like his can’t ever be filled by another. He was an artists who had influence that reached out far. I think he is far from gone because his music will be celebrated for a long, long time. He was one of those people you see on TV and think, ‘He plays with so much heart’. It is unfortunate that I never got to jam with him.
Ron Thal aka Bumblefoot
Guitarist (Former member of Guns N Roses)
I first heard BB King more than 35 years ago, and tried imitating his style of playing the guitar. I no longer play that kind of music but he has been a great influence, not in a technical way, but in an emotional manner.
Till a few years ago, he was playing 200 gigs a year and that dedication to the art is what we can learn from him.
Guitarist (Skinny Alley, Pink Noise)
When he played the guitar, it was as if he was having a conversation with his audience through the guitar, which he named Lucille. Lucille would become his voice. He was a great singer as well. Every time he picked a high note, it felt like he was extracting the last bit of his soul. My favourite song is Lucille, and, though it is instrumental, I’d play it repeatedly and sing over it.
Vocalist (Big Bang Blues)
It is one of my regrets to have missed watching him live. His death is a big loss, and the stories and legacy he leaves behind will live on. The songs he wrote will continue to inspire singers and guitarists forever. I loved his ollaboration with Eric Clapton in Riding with the King. His guitar, Lucille, could be played by anyone but it was only BB King who could make Lucille truly sing and I will miss that.
He was an institution. There is not a single guitar player anywhere in the world who doesn’t play BB King’s tracks. He has practically written the book. You can’t escape him. There is a favourite song that my blues band plays in every show. It is called Nightlife and it is very beautiful; I see the entire band coming together when we play it.
Guitarist (Big Family Blues Ensemble, The Saturday Night Blues Band)
To me, there is something very identifiable with blues and the roots of Bengal. That sense of abandonment, freedom and that sense of rustic openness, which was inherent to blues music is hard to replicate in any genre of music. I found a sense of similarity with Baul singers of Bengal while listening to BB King’s music. He was among the first guys to introduce electric elements in modern-day blues. I have a collection of his records, from here and there, from when I started listening to him at the age of 18. I liked the simplicity of his music, which was unique.