Some of the biggest names in the music world have been paying tribute to legendary bluesman B.B. King, who has died at the age of 89.
The “King of the Blues” is widely considered to be one of the most influential musicians of all time, has worked with the likes of U2, John Mayer and Eric Clapton and has been decorated with significant honours and awards all around the world.
B.B. King delivered a number of memorable performances at the Royal Albert Hall, so we’ve taken a look back at his 11 appearances at the venue.
1969: Royal Albert Hall debut
B.B. King’s first Royal Albert Hall appearance came on 22 April 1969, at a co-headline performance by the 43-year-old guitarist and Fleetwood Mac.
The evening saw support from fellow blues luminaries Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and Duster Bennett.
He returned to the capital two years later in 1971 – a period which saw him work with the likes of Ringo Starr, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green and saxophonist Bobby Keys on his 19th album B.B. King in London, and headline his first full British tour (which sadly didn’t include a date at the Hall).
1987 – 2002
BB King’s Royal Albert Hall programmes
It would be 18 years until B.B. King’s return to the Hall – at two sold-out performances on 13 & 14 October 1987.
These shows came during a prolific period of international tours which saw him perform in up to 300 concerts a year and included a further seven appearances at the Hall before 2002. The first of these came on 28 October 1991 alongside Dianne Reeves and Gene Harris’s All-Star Big Band.
He performed at three successive Jazz, Funk and Soul Festivals at the Hall from 1996-1998, before returning with his band for three headline concerts on 3 July 1999, 5 July 2001 and 3 July 2002.
2011: Final appearance
Photo: Richard Booth, 2011
B.B. King’s final Hall performance came on 28 June 2011 as part of London BluesFest.
The memorable evening saw him joined by a host of fellow blues champions, including Ronnie Wood, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, and Slash, as well as special guest vocalist Mick Hucknall.
Although this was the blues legend’s final Hall performance, tributes to him around the building remain – with a number of photos of him adorning the walls of the Hall, as well as him featuring in Sir Peter Blake’s spectacular Appearing at the Royal Albert Hall mural at Door 12.
Fortunately the 2011 concert was caught on camera, so I’ll leave you with this video of the the King of the Blues’ final moments on the world’s most famous stage: