About “The Thrill is Gone”

Spring, 1970 I heard it the first time. It jumped from the car radio like a revelation: B. B.’s solo that kicks off “The Thrill Is Gone”. Man, that thing told the unvarnished truth without wasting a note. I bought the 45 that day. I played it till my stereo needle destroyed the grooves. The tune matched my mood. The girl I loved had broke my heart.

b. b. kingI didn’t learn the song then, though. All the bands I was playing in did pretty much top forty. Playing something that soulful was unimaginable to me, I guess.

A decade later I was in Chicago working a regular gig with Aron Burton. Johnny Littlejohn, who I seem to recall was Aron’s brother-in-law at the time, recommended me to him. When Aron talked to me about doing the gig, I said that what I knew about blues came from The Allman Brothers and The Yardbirds. He didn’t care, “long as you can play.”

The first night I played with Aron, I picked up the progression to “The Thrill Is Gone.” Next day I bought B. B. King’s Greatest Hits and started copping all the licks I could from the song and from the rest of the album.

Around twenty years later “The Thrill Is Gone” ended up on a live CD we recorded in Evanston at Custer Street Fair, cleverly entitled  Live At Custer Street. We were having a pretty good day, and I like howLive At Custer Street the song came out.  Clicking on the  I icon below will play our take on the tune.

About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

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