B.B. King, Marc Bolan

It’s B.B. King’s birthday today. He was born in 1925 in Itta Bena, Mississippi.

Here he is back in 1968, performing on Ralph J. Gleason’s Jazz Casual. Enjoy.

Also on this day, in 1977, Marc Bolan from T-Rex was killed in a car crash.

What do you think of these two? Both very different; one the Pixie Prince of Glam Rock, the other King of the Blues. I’d be interested in your song favourites, concert memories and thoughts on everything, from Bolan’s uncanny likeness to Syd Barrett to B.B.’s relentless tour schedule. (They used to call James Brown the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, but has B.B. ever taken time off?)

I’m sure you’d like to join me in wishing B.B. a very Happy 84th Birthday.

Last, but by no means least, thank you all for thinking of Richard, his family and friends yesterday. Your fond reminiscences were a pleasure to read and I’m glad that Polly’s charming Venice memento put a smile on your faces once again.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

62 thoughts on “B.B. King, Marc Bolan”

  1. BB King is in a league of his own… you hear today’s popstars complaining about the strains of touring??? They need to go with BB for a while.

    Joe Bonamassa now tries his best to bring on young guitars players by giving them the support slot just as BB did for him… Joe opened shows for BB at the tender age of 11 and he’s never forgot it.

    Some of BB’s recent albums have duets with all different types of artists and what a joy they are!!!

    1. Paul, one of B.B.’s albums I recently bought is, Live at the Regal. I was staggered to discover it was recorded in 1964! I remember 1964 music very well but none of it was anything like as good as this. 1964 for goodness sakes! A live recording! And B.B. was putting out stuff that really would not sound out of place if it had been recorded yesterday.

      Somewhere else I spoke about Deuces Wild which is an album of collaborations with other artists and I do enjoy it. Fed, there’s another Van Morrison one on there, If You Love Me. It’s absolutely beautiful. I also really like the two with Paul Carrack.

      There’s another album of collaborations I looked at recently, can’t remember what it was called but that will probably be next on my shopping list.

      ash X

  2. BB King is a genius. I saw him in Portland, Oregon in the mid 1990s and was not that familiar with his music. He absolutely blew my socks off. (My feet didn’t get cold, ‘cos the place was really SMOKIN’!!) Now THERE’S a guy who can play!!

    What Gilmour is to pop/rock, King is to the blues. That is to say, both are still at the top of their game after all these years, and each is iconic of his musical genre.

  3. Happy Birthday B.B. 🙂

    His tour schedule is just amazing. Music keeps him young, it seems.

    There are a lot of B.B. King’s songs I like, so I need a little time to choose my favourites, but “The Thrill is Gone” will be certainly in my list.

    I recently found this video and I liked it very much.

    Sorry, I don’t know what to say about Marc Bolan and T-Rex, because I completely missed their music. :v

    1. Thanks for that, Alessandra. What a tune that is.

      I was sorry to read recently that Phil Collins may never be able to play the drums again after a neck injury, but have to applaud his “stuff happens” attitude.

    2. I heard he was going to stop playing, but I didn’t know the reason why. When I went to Genesis’ concert in Rome, in 2007, he seemed at his best, so I thought he was just tired of playing.

      I’m sorry to know that it’s not so, but, you’re right, his positive attitude is admirable.

    3. I have said for years that I like Phil Collins better than his music. (Don’t get me wrong, I love his early work with Genesis and Brand X; it’s the stuff he writes NOW that I don’t get along with.) He is an incredibly talented musician and, given his injury, is very fortunate to have other musical skills. He can still sing and can also write music.

      That said, I feel bad for him because drumming was what he did first. You never forget your first passion.

  4. After listening to them again, I think my favourite B.B. King songs (more than the one I mentioned in my first comment) are “Sweet Little Angel”, “Ten Long Years”, “Please Love Me”, “Blues Boys Tune”, “Sweet Sixteen” and “Three O’Clock Blues”.

    I just discovered, searching the web, that T-Rex wrote a song I like, “Children of the Revolution”. That’s one of those tracks I’ve heard lots of times in different places, ignoring the author. Elton John also performed it with Pete Doherty at Live8, if I’m not wrong.

    Thanks to The Blog, I’ve learnt something new. 🙂

    1. Pleased to be of service. 🙂

      I’m sure that many people know some of their songs, if not the name of the band responsible for them. ‘Get It On’ is another that you may know. Have a look and a listen here.

      Does he remind you of Syd?

    2. Thanks for the link, I knew that song, too. 🙂

      Yes, he has a certain likeness with Syd, especially the eyes and some face expressions, in my opinion.

      Funnily enough, I read in Wikipedia that Syd was one of his influences, too.

    3. Does he remind you of Syd?

      Yes, Marc Bolan has always reminded me of Syd in the looks department. I think it was down to June Bolan dating Syd first. She probably fashioned Marc on Syd if that makes sense and I am trying to say this in a most respectful manner.

    4. Alessandra,

      On the Wikipedia link you posted, there’s an interesting quotation in the ‘Legacy’ section, which is allegedly credited to David… did you, or anyone else, notice it?

    5. Alessandra,

      On the Wikipedia link you posted, there’s an interesting quotation in the ‘Legacy’ section, which is allegedly credited to David… did you, or anyone else, notice it?

      I didn’t, but it’s correctly credited.

      It’s from an interview with Daryl Easlea which appeared in the May 2003 edition of Record Collector, if anyone reading this likes to tinker with Wiki in their free time.

  5. I never attended any B.B. King concert, but a colleague of mine saw him in Paris – Palais Des Congrès – last July (2009) and told me he had been impressed not only by his guitar and voice but also by his incredible energy (even if he was sitting in a chair all the time) and his ability to make the audience laugh, constantly joking about everything.

    As for me, I very much enjoyed watching this video, I wonder why… 😉

    Michèle

    1. I wonder who that guy playing the Red Strat was.

      Sure, Frank, that talented guy was Ernest! 😛

  6. I have always enjoyed listening to B. B. Paying the Cost to to be the Boss (I think is the name of it) is a good one, a cocky, chauvinistic blues number that always made me grin. Only B.B. could get away with it.

    As for Bolan, he was a great performer and an interesting person. I remember best Electric Warrior (Bang a Gong) and The Slider (Metal Guru). It was a sad day for music when he was killed.

  7. Hi, FEd.

    Oh, I think today is a wonderful day for the “King of the Blues”.

    Happy 84th Birthday B.B.!

    I wish to celebrate his birthday with this amazing video.

    I love the Blues! :))

    PS: What do you think about “The Blues Brothers”?

    Bye, Hydrea

    1. Good soundtrack, no doubt about it, but to be honest… I watched the film once, years ago, and just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. Maybe I should give it another try, but as soon as something is over-hyped, I usually lose interest.

      I see that Henry Gibson, who played the head of the Illinois Nazis, passed away today.

  8. Dear FEd,

    Can’t thank everyone enough for this blog. Was remembering last year at this time and mourning by myself the loss of Richard Wright; and this year have all my blog friends who truly understand that a person can be so emotional over the loss of a great artist.

    Too many songs of BB King to mention. Truly the king of the blues. Love them “blues”.

    Yesterday another loss of music greats was Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Such wonderful music from that group in their day.

    Can’t help to think that the “Heavens” are truly filled with music. All of our favorite musicians are up there jamming every day. What a concert that must be.

    Thanks again FEd, for keeping this great blog going and keeping us up to date with all the music trivia.

    Love to the World.

  9. ‘Lo folks.

    I know what you are saying Fed, the Marc/Syd thing. It’s odd, uncanny. I wonder if he ever saw Syd play?

    BB King. HE got de Blues, Man. Nuff said.

    Good weekend all!

  10. I am mourning the passing of Mary Travers, of Peter, Paul and Mary. She died this week of leukaemia.

    I went to high school with her daughter, Alicia Travers. Alicia probably would not remember me, as I was a geeky Freshman while she was a cool Senior. But I remember her! She was the spitting image of her famous mother. And I have always loved the music of Peter, Paul and Mary, so it was like being in the same room with royalty.

    I saw PP&M about two or three years ago, here in upstate New York. They sounded wonderful together, even though Mary’s voice was not what it had once been. And it was an amazing, wonderful concert. She told the story about crouching in her garden and being unable to get back up, and she had to crawl back to her house. She made it funny, but I cannot retell it in quite the same manner. It had to have been awful!

    I feel really sad about Mary’s death. Her music was an important part of my childhood, its message of love and hope has informed my own thinking over the years.

    Rest peacefully, Mary. You will be sorely missed.

    1. Well said. I am very sad, too.

      There’s a quote I can’t quite remember, something about a particular death diminishing all of us. I think that applies.

    1. That’s nothing. I was behind a car this evening which had a registration plate reading, BL05 FAD. I read FED first of all.

      Well, Fed? Will you go in search of a personalised number plate now?

      ash 😉

    2. I don’t know about that, but I did find myself driving behind a small van advertising satellite and aerial installations called Azimuth-something or other earlier today.

      I also saw a T-shirt that our Simon might like: a mock-up of the Happy Days logo, only it said ‘Crappy Days’ instead.

  11. I have never seen B.B. live but he has always been a fave – always! The Thrill Is Gone is a classic.

    A year ago, I wrote a song for my dog named Lime (long story). I love him and wrote a song using the chords from Thrill, in Bm.

    That chord progression has so much passion, it screams the Blues.

    P.S. I received an Email today accepting moi, to receice my C.E.T license on October 2nd. After so many years of being a jerk(jack) of all trades, with my new schooling direction in CNC Programming, hopefully my wife can retire next year. Fingers crossed. :v

    1. Not sure (at all) I understand “C.E.T license/CNC Programming”, but that sounds good. 😉

      So, bravo, Frank! 🙂

    2. This song, along with many others, is about their old band member Syd Barrett. His lack of hair, eye brows and weight is similar to how Syd, sometime after he was kicked out of Pink Floyd, looked like when the other members saw him; he looked like a completely different person. This is about him losing touch with himself as well as everyone around him. It’s a sad but beautiful song and it has a powerful message.

  12. God loves music. BB King was a man God made, and thank God BB King found what he was gifted at here on earth like so many of us do not.

    The most beautiful thing I ever have heard on this earth is once I heard thousands of angels sing for a few seconds.

    Do not proceed how great thou king be – and they weren’t singing about BB King.

    Whatever you do, if you hear a voice saying you can talk to your dead grandmother, don’t talk back… hahahaha.

    In my case, angels butted in… and when I heard them I knew God was speaking.

    Stuck in Indiana

  13. I’m sure you all know it, but I just found that Marc Bolan also presented a TV series called “Marc” in 1977. Sadly, he died before the last shows could be broadcast. 🙁

    Here is a short video of the last episode, featuring David Bowie, but other famous guests, such as Hawkwind and Roger Taylor (Queen) took part in the series.

    Wouldn’t it be great to have TV shows like that today?

    1. It sure would.

      Although he did it discreetly, did you know that, after Bolan’s death, David Bowie provided financial support for Bolan’s young son? The story can be found here.

    2. That’s very beautiful, I never heard about it.

      He also managed to keep everything private, he has all my respect for that.

    3. Hi, FEd 🙂

      Thanks for that link~good read.

      Some time ago, I watched a short biography about Marc Bolan that had some bits of interviews with his son, Rolan, but this article was far more in depth. He seems very ‘intact’ in spite of the tragic turn in his young life that took his father from him.

      Then, to add insult to injury, what about the archaic law which kept him from his rightful inheritance because he was “illegitimate”!?! 8|

      Nice of Bowie to help out, I must say.

      Gabrielle

    4. FEd,

      Interesting article but it also raises the following question: Would Tony Visconti have done anything if his own royalties weren’t also tied up in the matter? Certainly it is a good thing that there was a vested interest.

      Thanks.

      Andrew

  14. Look at BB, a much younger man in those days. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the man several times, and he is a true gentleman in every sense of the word. A musical, and personal, hero of mine, to be sure.

    Best birthday wishes to him, and thank you for kindly posting this lovely video clip.

  15. Had to do it Fed – click here.

    Love to see Mr G do this, especially the “I’m a hoochie coochie man” bit, LOL.

    The Man’s that good he don’t even need a guitar!

  16. BB, he’s great yet modest. Seen him twice and actually met him; very approachable and nice (in the best sense of the word).

    Glam was my era, whilst The Floyd/Led Zep/The Who were recording LPs of stunning quality, T.Rex/Slade/Sweet were releasing hit single after hit single that were vibrant, exciting and managed to make you feel good about life. And there was Bowie/Roxy/Alice Cooper who managed to combine Glam/Theatre with stunning singles and brilliant LPs.

    The highlight of the week was TOTP’s on a Thursday night and whenever Marc appeared he light up even the smallest screen, he had this total confidence that oozed charisma, but unfortunately lead to big ego problems and wasted talent.

    A great time to be a teenager.

  17. David…

    Hi! I’m from Argentina, I’m 17 and I just want to tell you that you are my hero, you are an example of life for me. I know all about you, your life, and more.

    Best wishes

    Federico

  18. They used to call James Brown the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, but has B.B. ever taken time off?

    I think B.B. has to be crowned ‘King’ in this category, for sure. What an amazing life he’s had, eh?

    “Sweet Little Angel” is one of my all-time favorites by B.B. 😀

    Alas, I’ve never seen B.B. King in person. I did have tickets for a concert a few years back, but then my hubby ended up having a knee-replacement surgery scheduled for the same damned day and, oddly enough, thought it would be wrong of me to abandon him at the hospital for my overnight trip! Our kids ended up taking friends with them, though, and had an evening with the King.

    That same hubby then proceeded to tell me all about the time he’d seen the ‘three Kings’ (B.B., Albert, and Freddie) at The Winterland or Fillmore in San Francisco back in the ’70s and how incredibly good they were! Good thing he had that bum knee, for crissake, or I’d have kicked him … :))

    Hope you have a fab weekend!

    Peace ‘n’ love to all ~
    Gabrielle

  19. I saw B.B.King for my first and only time in 2002. It was a stunning show. I don’t remember what he played because I was very unfamiliar with his work. I always recognised him when I heard him but never had any of his albums until I bought Deuces Wild. (I’ve since bought a couple more!) David is on one of the tracks, “Cryin’ Won’t Help You”.

    From what I’ve read, B.B. has toured 250 days a year since 1950-something! That’s probably the secret of his longevity.

    I wish I’d seen his most recent tour but already had tickets for something else. Kicking myself. 😡

    I saw, (dammit do I have to spell it out?) Tyrannosaurus Rex in 1969 or 70. Just two of them, Marc Bolan and Steve Took, all acoustic. John Peel had been playing them a lot on Saturday afternoons and a lot of us at school listened to their albums, however they were still sort of underground. I saw T.Rex twice, once during the transition to electric then the full on Glam. That unfortunately is when my love affair with them ended. So, I liked the early stuff best, it was very unusual back then.

    I got the autographs of both groups. They are in my parents’ loft somewhere (probably in a damned mouse nest). Those were the days when you could GET to the dressing room door, knock on it and ask and someone took your paper and pen and brought them back signed! Well, actually it was before they got really big and they played in a tiny venue for 1000.

    ash X

  20. Joke for you Fed.

    Q. What do you call a one eyed dinosaur?

    A. A Doyouthinkeesaurus. 😕

    Look out, here comes an Ohfukiteesaurus. Followed closely by a Runlikehelleesaurus.

    ash :))

    1. :)) Here’s one for you:

      What do you call a dinosaur that never gives up?

      A Try-and-try-and-try-ceratops.

      Yes, Miss Spencer, I still remember it…

    2. No, no, no.

      What do you call a dinosaur that plays a black guitar???

      Of course, a Stratosoarus.

      Disclaimer: in no way am I referring to David as a dinosaur.

      Thanks.

      Andrew

  21. Happy Birthday, BB King! Love your stuff, man.

    Good to be back on after about a month off. Got moved to Springfield in as few spare parts as possible, I suppose. Hope to be in chat this week and see everybody there. Without internet, David’s music videos got us through along with some good left handed luckies.

  22. Hi,

    back from Norway so green and blue as a Munch’s landscape.

    A quiet sticky and strong sadness for Rick.

    I remember Marc Bolan and T.Rex, he had a deep influence from Syd both on sound and look but had a stronger link with PF and Syd years because of his marriage with June Child, secretary for the band who loved Syd like a sister, if I remember something about…

    Thank you FEd for your sensitive way to remind us of many magic moments.

    A hug to the great blog family,
    diana

  23. BB King, 84, Leonard Cohen,74, both still performing, total respect!

    Sadly I just heard on my local radio station that Leonard Cohen had collapsed on stage in Valencia (Spain) last Friday and had been taken to hospital. I do hope it’s not too serious. 🙁

  24. hey FE’d

    hope all is well at DGHQ?

    little did I realise that Mr Gilmour had hit such hard times – click here!

    I hope the gardening goes well. 🙂

    andy.

    1. :)) David’s next album will have a ‘Trowel and Secateurs of…’ sticker on it.

      Not that I’m saying there’s an album coming, you understand…

  25. When I started to play guitar 28 years ago, I had two heroes: David and B.B. King. As I wasn’t able to play like David, and there was no YouTube at that time to see him play, I bought a solo guitar book from BB and burned my fingers on my cheap guitar until blood come out! And still today, I can remember the riffs I learned.

    I really enjoy this “Hommage” you give him.

    Thank you.

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