This hour-long one-on-one interview program provided a rare and insightful look into the life of B.B. King, the King of the Blues. Taped in Chicago on October 24, 2003, in front of a live audience, King was interviewed by musician and entertainer Isaac Hayes. King has traveled the world spreading his brand of blues to fans. An Evening With B.B. King shared the good times and the bad as experienced by this legendary blues guitarist.
From his childhood in Mississippi to his audience with the Pope to his battle with diabetes, B.B. King led a rich life, and his music has influenced musicians for decades. With hits such as “The Thrill is Gone,” “Rock Me Baby,” and “How Blue Can You Get?”, King remained one of the most spectacular live performers in the music industry during his long career.
An Evening With B.B. King covered the full scope of the blues legend’s life, using video clips taken throughout his life and career and a live performance by King and the Ko Ko Taylor Band.
B.B. King was born Riley B. King in Itta Bena, Mississippi on September 16, 1925. After his mother's and grandmother's deaths left him on his own at the age of ten, King began playing on street corners for dimes. King hitchhiked to Memphis in the mid-1940s. His first big break came from WDIA radio in West Memphis, where he was given a weekly performance plugging the health tonic, Pepticon. In the early 1950s, King signed a contract with Modern Records and made his first recordings. In the years following, King moved from the chitlin circuit of the south to concert halls, amphitheaters, and resort hotels. With his 1966 signature hit, The Thrill is Gone, B.B. King, for the first time, achieved success on the popular charts. He began to play for white audiences, and in 1969, he made his first network TV appearance on the "Tonight Show," and in 1971 he performed live on the Ed Sullivan Show. B.B. King was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1984, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
King passed away in 2015.
Entertainer Isaac Hayes was born in Covington, Tennessee, on August 20, 1942. Following the death of his parents, he moved in with his grandparents in Memphis. Leaving school in the ninth grade, he began performing at various clubs in town. He returned to night school and recorded his first album in 1962. Hayes’ breakthrough album, Hot Buttered Soul, came in 1969, and in 1971 he wrote the soundtrack to the movie Shaft, which won him an Oscar. Continuing to record albums, Hayes also began to act, and had his first major role in 1974’s Truck Turner. Other file roles for Hayes included Dr. Doolittle and a remake of Shaft. Hayes served as the spokesman for the World Literacy Crusade and had a radio program on KISS-FM. He also established restaurants. In 2002, Hayes was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Hayes passed away in 2008.
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60603