Things you should know about BB King


There is hardly a name that is more of a synonym to blues than BB King. With Lucille, he shook up the world of music and gave it new meaning, and he continued to do so for no fewer than six decades, during which he never stopped playing and re-inventing himself. Unless you are a BB King aficionado, you will certainly find the following facts on the famous blues legend interesting.

There was more than one Lucille

Eric Clapton called his trustworthy guitar Blackie, while Stevie Ray Vaughan named his Number One. BB King is indeed in good company as he, too, christened his guitar with a name dear to his soul. He called his Lucille, but unlike Clapton and Vaughan, over the years, he changed his guitar 40 times throughout his career as a musician. That, however, didn’t mean that he wasn’t loyal to his musical instrument of choice. All the Lucilles in BB King’s life were Gibson ES-355 models.


He didn’t serve in World War II, although enlisted

BB King certainly didn’t want to run away from his obligations as a US citizen and enlisted to go to the front during World War II. However, his application was dismissed because he was driving a tractor, and that was considered an essential occupation for keeping the front at home.


He was a tireless performer

Except for his very late years, when he became too weak and sick to perform, BB King had rarely missed a gig or a performance. To give an example, in 1956, together with his band, BB King performed 342 night gigs.


He was a vegetarian

You might remember some commercials for McDonald’s and Wendy’s featuring the blues legend, but BB King never ate meat. He was a convinced vegetarian, and that makes it all the stranger that he agrees to appear in ads for the well-known fast-food chains.

He could fly planes

Although used to getting to gigs across the country in a bus, BB King learned how to fly planes, and so began moving to the places of his performances using this means of transportation. He gave up after he reached the age of 70 years, at the insistence of his family. Rumor has it that a somewhat dangerous situation convinced him to give up on piloting himself.


He was awarded a few doctorates

The fact that BB King won numerous Grammy awards is no secret, but not as many people know about his doctorates which he received from prestigious musical institutions of education such as the Berklee College of Music, as well as Brown and Yale. There is even a recording studio located in the Mississippi Valley University that carries his name.


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