Musicians, friends react to blues legend BB King’s death

B.B. King
In this file photo taken Aug. 22, 2012, B.B. King performs at the 32nd annual B.B. King Homecoming, a concert on the grounds of an old cotton gin where he worked as a teenager in Indianola, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

By The Associated Press

Blues legend B.B. King died late Thursday at his Las Vegas home. Here are some comments from people who knew and admired him:

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“The world has physically lost not only one of the greatest musical people ever but one of the greatest people ever. Enjoy your eternity.” – Smokey Robinson

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“I just wanted to express my sadness and to say thank you to my dear friend BB King. I wanted to thank him for all the inspiration and encouragement he gave me as a player over the years and for the friendship that we enjoyed.

“There’s not a lot left to say because this music is almost a thing of the past now, and there are not many left to play it in the pure way that BB did. He was a beacon for all of us who love this kind of music, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart.” – Eric Clapton, in a video posted on Facebook

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“The blues has lost its king, and America has lost a legend. B.B. King was born a sharecropper’s son in Mississippi, came of age in Memphis, Tennessee, and became the ambassador who brought his all-American music to his country and the world. No one worked harder than B.B. No one inspired more up-and-coming artists. No one did more to spread the gospel of the blues.

“Three years ago, Michelle and I hosted a blues concert at the White House. I hadn’t expected that I’d be talked into singing a few lines of ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ with B.B. by the end of the night, but that was the kind of effect his music had, and still does. He gets stuck in your head, he gets you moving, he gets you doing the things you probably shouldn’t do – but will always be glad you did. B.B. may be gone, but that thrill will be with us forever. And there’s going to be one killer blues session in heaven tonight.” __ President Barack Obama

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“His fusion of jump, jazz and blues styles became the template for blues and rock guitarists the world over. Without BB, there would be no Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton, and without Jimi and Eric, no heavy rock – but we shouldn’t hold that against him! A true great.” – Producer Joe Boyd, who worked with Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention and many others

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“Mississippi is known the world over as the birthplace of America’s music, and BB King is one of its founding legends and one of our state’s most treasured gifts to the music world. For decades, our souls have been stirred by his talents. From juke joints to concert halls, there is no place his influence hasn’t reached. Mississippi has lost a legend. He is the king. The thrill is gone.” – Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant

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“The Blues lost its best friend with the loss of BB King, and the music world lost a giant. I was privileged to have worked with BB many times over the years, and he was not just a remarkable artist, he was one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met.

“He united multiple generations with a love for the blues, and I will always recall the joy he would bring to audiences and fellow musicians alike when they were lucky enough to be in his presence. When he said, ‘I’ll play the Blues for You,’ he meant it. He enriched the lives and the music of every artist he came into contact with, and it’s through his influence and his inspiration that his music will continue to be heard.” – Longtime Grammys Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich

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“I have had many opportunities to spend time with B.B. in and around the Mississippi Delta, and each time I was in his presence, I walked away with a greater sense of his brilliance and great dedication to his craft. … He was a source of pride for the Mississippi Delta and its greatest ambassador across the world.” – Democratic U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, whose congressional district includes the Mississippi Delta, where King was born

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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