B.B. KING BRINGS TOGETHER ERIC CLAPTON, ELTON JOHN,
SHERYL CROW, JOHN MAYER AND OTHERS FOR B.B KING & FRIENDS – 80, NEW DUETS ALBUM OF BLUES STANDARDS TO CELEBRATE THE BLUES GREAT’S 80TH BIRTHDAY
In honor of B.B. King’s 80th birthday on September 16, “The King of the Blues” will celebrate the occasion with a few of his musical compatriots on a new studio album of duets, B.B. King & Friends – 80 (Geffen/UMe), released September 13, 2005. Featuring some of today’s biggest stars–from Eric Clapton, Elton John, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer, and Gloria Estefan to Roger Daltrey, Glenn Frey, Mark Knopfler, Billy Gibbons, Bobby Bland, and Daryl Hall – B.B. King & Friends – 80 is yet another landmark in the career of one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th Century and the blues’ greatest ambassador.
Along with a new book (Treasures, published by Bulfinch Press on September 16) and a major nationwide tour this summer and fall (both solo and headlining the B.B. King Blues Festival), B.B. King & Friends – 80 finds B.B. both looking back and looking forward. For the man who has achieved icon status, along with his guitar Lucille, B.B.’s first new studio album since 2003’s Reflections finds him reconnecting with a dozen of the most significant standards of the blues with a little help from his friends.
With long-time admirer and recent collaborator Clapton, B.B. reinvigorates his 1970 Grammy-winning classic “The Thrill Is Gone.” He also gives new spins to other B.B. flashbacks from the ’70s, “Never Make Your Move Too Soon” with The Who’s Roger Daltrey and the Leon Russell-penned “Hummingbird” with John Mayer. In what may be the album’s most unusual and intriguing pairing, Gloria Estefan duets on the Grammy-winning Doc Pomus-Dr. John song from the ’80s “There Must Be A Better World Somewhere.” In another teaming with a female singer, Sheryl Crow is heard on Little Willie John’s “Need Your Love So Bad.”
Daryl Hall adds his Philly Soul to “Ain’t Nobody Home” while British blues giant Van Morrison partners on “Early In The Morning” and American blues staple Bobby Bland contributes to “Funny How Time Slips Away” and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons to B.B.’s ’60s gem “Tired Of Your Jive.” Mark Knopfler, best-known for his work in Dire Straits, lends his trademark guitar sound to “All Over Again,” the Eagles’ Glenn Frey tackles Junior Parker’s “Drivin’ Wheel” and, in a raucous finale, pop superstar Elton John and B.B. bring down the house with their take on Jimmy Rogers’ “Rock This House.”
A Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Kennedy Center honoree, and member of the Blues Foundation and Rock and Roll halls of fame, B.B. kicked off his birthday festivities in June with the groundbreaking for the B.B. King Museum in Indianola, Mississippi, near his birthplace.