I mentioned the other day, I was looking for a blues song, though I ended up posting something entirely different.
Today that urge came again, and I thought of an old blues standard made famous by American Blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer B.B. King (1925-2015), “The Thrill Is Gone.” Whenever I think of this song, I remember a conversation with a work superior of mine from years ago. He told how an employee a few levels down in the hierarchy had announced his retirement to him, saying the job “wasn’t fun anymore.” I don’t recall whether it was the employee’s or the superior’s embellishment, or perhaps my imagination that added, “The thrill is gone, baby.”
American blues singer, songwriter and pianist Roy Hawkins wrote “The Thrill Is Gone” in 1951 with a fellow named Rick Darnell (I couldn’t find details on him). King’s version, recorded in 1969, became a major hit, earning him a GRAMMY award in 1970 (Best R&B Male Vocal Performance), and would become one of his most famous songs. There are numerous videos of him performing it in concert, running for up to 12 minutes. And there are many studio and live audio recordings ranging from about three to eleven minutes.
King was known for his innovation in solo guitar playing, pioneering techniques like staccato picking, fluid string bending, and vibrato, and his style has influenced many blues electric guitarists. He performed right up until October 2014 and died in May 2015, aged 89.
“The Thrill Is Gone” comes from King’s 1969 record, Completely Well.
Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s a video of King’s performance at the 1993 Montreux Jazz Festival, held on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, from the Mercury Studios official YouTube channel.
If you click on “watch on YouTube,” you will see official lyrics in the notes section.