Bill Wyman has recalled the moment B.B. King tried to teach him his signature guitar trick – but the ex Rolling Stone couldn’t learn it.
The Stones first met him in 1969 when they toured the US and invited him to join them. Wyman tells the BBC: “I was able to stand side stage and just watch B.B. with his band. You realised just what a talent he was. It was the way he played.”
The last time he met King was in 2009. He remembers: “He could do that tremolo beautifully. He asked me if I could do it, and I said, ‘No, I’m a bass player.’ He sat me down with his guitar and I tried to do it – but it was impossible for me. He kept saying, ‘Come on, you can do it.’ He was so sweet.”
Wyman adds: “He had a lot of humour and he told wonderful stories about the past. He influenced so many guitarists with that style. He was unique.
“He’s a giant of the 20th century, like Ray Charles, Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington and people like that. He was really loved.”
A post on King’s website quotes the late icon saying: “The blues was bleeding the same blood as me” and invites fans to share their memories.
US president Barack Obama yesterday said: “There’s going to be one killer blues session in Heaven tonight.” Later former president George W Bush posted his own Facebook tribute, saying: “The King is dead, but the thrill is not gone.”