Blues legend B.B. King passed away earlier this week. I had the privilege of seeing him in concert three different times. Once was about 30 years ago at a club in Cincinnati. Another time was 20+ years ago at a theater in L.A. with two other blues forefathers, Albert King and Bobby “Blue” Bland. And I saw B.B. for the last time just a summer ago, when he opened for Peter Frampton. I must admit that when I saw him last summer, it saddened me a bit, because B.B. was nothing at all like the musician I saw at that club in Cincinnati. He was merely a shell of his old self, a former great just playing out the string, like Willie Mays for the New York Mets in ’72. As Willie himself said, “”growing old is just a helpless hurt.”
But then I remembered that B.B. was 88 years old last summer. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are the elder statesmen of rock and roll, but they’re 18 years younger than B.B. I don’t think Mick will still be strutting the stage like a proud peacock in 2033. Rather than be saddened by B.B. diminished skills, I should’ve been thrilled that he was still doing what he loved. R.I.P. B.B.