The death of blues legend B.B. King, whose guitar playing helped define an era of rock ’n’ roll, sent ripples through the music community and prompted emotional responses from such artists as the Doobie Brothers, Eric Clapton and Slash. Many musicians whose careers were inspired by the “King of Blues” shared their reactions to King’s death over social media, including their appreciation for his game-changing music career.
Eric Clapton took to Facebook Friday morning to say King was a “beacon” to rock artists. “I just wanted to express my sadness and to say thank you to my dear friend B.B. King,” the English musician and guitarist said in an emotional video post. “I want to thank him for the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years, for the friendship that we enjoyed. There’s not a lot left to say.”
Clapton and King worked together in 2000 on the album “Riding With the King.” It included five King songs from the 1950s and 1960s.
Other musicians shared their tributes to King on Twitter.
— The Doobie Brothers (@TheDoobieBros) May 15, 2015
— Queen Latifah (@IAMQUEENLATIFAH) May 15, 2015
Devastated by the passing of BB King. My favorite blues guitarist. & a truly wonderful man. RIP BB. pic.twitter.com/LUw5Ny76n6
— Slash (@Slash) May 15, 2015
National Basketball Association franchise the Memphis Grizzlies also took to Twitter to say that “the thrill will never be gone or forgotten.” King was a fixture on the Memphis music scene in the 1940s and was a popular disc jockey on the Memphis radio station WDIA. That’s where he earned the nickname the “Beale Street Blues Boy,” which was later shortened to just “Blues Boy “and then B.B., according to the New York Times.
— Colleen Kelly (@PRWebServices) May 15, 2015
King, who was born Riley B. King in 1925 in Mississippi, died late Thursday night at his home in Las Vegas. He was 89.