The Blues had fallen out of favor in the U.S. recording market in the 1960s, as it was considered retro and passé. Many talented blues musicians from the ’40s and ’50s were left with few options until British rock bands took notice and revived the genre by covering various classic American blues songs, often without credit, which fomented a resurgence of interest in the original recordings. The British were largely responsible for restarting the careers of such notables as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Even early blues-based rock and rollers Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Bo Diddley got career boosts, and all were more popular in England than they were in the United States at that time.
Riley B. “Blues Boy” King was one of the greatest bluesmen of all time, known for his roaring vocals and understated guitar solos. He paid the cost to be the boss, and this BBC documentary from 1972 is amazing. There’s no posing, no strutting or preening, just straight talk about influences and style in a refreshingly honest manner. There’s no point in posting other B.B. King videos here because this one covers it all.
R.I.P. Mr. King. That’s one hell of a legacy you left us.