Legendary blues guitarist B.B. King died last May of natural causes at the age of 89. Monday night, those who carry on the banner of his work, paid moving homage to his storied career. Gary Clark Jr. and Chris Stapleton paid tribute to the artist and played “The Thrill is Gone” with swaggering guitars and stank faces to boot. Bonnie Raitt introduced the performance and then joined Clark, Jr. Stapleton to sing and play guitar alongside them.
The track, off his 1969 album Completely Well, won a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
Born Riley B. King (“B.B.” stood for Blues Boy) in Berclair, Mississippi to sharecroppers on cotton fields, his influence on American blues exists with little parallel. His world-weary voice groaned under even wearier tales about the country life he knew so well. He first went out on tour in 1951, just after he reached the top of the R&B charts for the first time. King played dates up until his health made it impossible.
Earlier in the night, Stapleton picked up Grammys for Best Country Album, Best Country Song, and Best Country Solo Performance.