Farewell to B.B. King, whose guitar got her name in Arkansas | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 15, 2015

Farewell to B.B. King, whose guitar got her name in Arkansas

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 11:18 AM

click to enlarge King, at the 2010 King Biscuit Blues Festival. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
  • King, at the 2010 King Biscuit Blues Festival.
Music lovers all over the world are reacting with sorrow on hearing of the death of Blues legend B.B. King, who died in Las Vegas on Thursday at the age of 89. 

King, who was born in Itta Bena, Miss. on Sept 16, 1925, had a close connection with Arkansas, playing juke joints on both sides of the Mississippi River in his early days before ascending to the heights of the Blues pantheon.

It was in one of those juke joints in Twist, Ark. that King's legendary guitar Lucille got her name. Turns out there have been many Lucilles over the years, but the first Lucille, a Gibson L-30 archtop, was born of fire. 

From Rolling Stone today: 

Lucille's beginnings date to 1949, when King, then in his early 20s, was performing at a nightclub in Twist, Arkansas, in the dead of winter. To heat the cold room, King recalled in a video interview, "they would take something that looked like a big garbage pail, half fill it with kerosene, light that fuel [and] set it in the middle of the dance floor." All well and good, but on this night, a fight broke out between two men, and the pail was knocked over. "It spilled on the floor, it looked like a river fire," the guitarist said. "And everyone started to run for the front door, including B.B. King."

The bluesman managed to make it to safety outside — only to realize he had left his guitar behind. He raced back inside to retrieve it even as the wooden building, he said, "started to fall in around me." The next day, he learned that two men had died in the blaze and that the fight that had set off the tragic chain of events had been over a woman who worked at the club. Her name was Lucille.

B.B., who claimed he "almost lost [his] life" rushing back into the nightclub, christened his guitar after her, he said, "to remind me never to do a thing like that again."
 
A historic marker now stands along Highway 42 in Cross County, near the site of the Twist, Ark. juke joint where Lucille got her name.  


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Favorite

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • Fast forward in Blytheville

    The East Coast Timing Association held its Arkansas 1-Mile Challenge in September, where racers from all over the country mixed gasoline, steel and passion in the pursuit of raw speed.
    • Oct 11, 2018
  • Tough mothers, demanding action

    Interest in the gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action has exploded since the massacre at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High in Florida. Leaders here say they're in the battle for 'gun sense' until the job is done.
    • Apr 5, 2018
  • The Griffin

    El Dorado's new restaurant showplace is worth the drive.
    • Mar 15, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Payday lenders on the march at legislature

    Payday lenders are working hard to get legislative cover for the reintroduction of their usurious loan business to Arkansas. Some are fighting back.
    • Mar 10, 2017
  • ADEQ denies C&H Hog Farm permit

    The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has denied a new permit for the C&H Hog Farms' concentrated animal feeding operation near Mount Judea (Newton County). This is a big and somewhat surprising victory for critics who have viewed C&H's large-scale pig farm and the pig waste it generates as an existential threat to the Buffalo National River.
    • Jan 10, 2018
  • Hospitality, restaurant groups oppose bathroom bill

    Add the restaurant and hospitality association to those opposed to Sen. Linda Collins-Smith's bill to keep transgender people out of public restrooms that match their gender identity.
    • Mar 16, 2017

Slideshows

  • Arkansas vs Ole Miss at War Memorial stadium in Little Rock, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. After leading for much of the game, Arkansas lost 37-33 when Ole Miss scored the game winning Touchdown with less that 2 minutes left. 
  • Margaret Clark Adventure Park
    New sculptures, preschoolers play area dedicated in Riverfront Park in Little Rock.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation