The King of Blues indeed
Glastonbury 2011: BB King by Al De Perez

BB King is 85 years old. He’s 85 years old and he’s playing the Pyramid Stage. I haven’t got the statistics in front of me right now, but I’m fairly sure he’s a member of a pretty elite club.

The man is also an institution: one of a dwindling number of Mississippi Blues men to still be alive and swinging. There aren’t many scenarios where pedigree like this wont shine, and BB King bringing the Delta to Somerset is certainly not one of them.

Taking his seat centre stage, he introduces each member of his renowned band before launching into his 1955 hit ‘Everyday I Have The Blues’. The track, with as much history as King himself, has been recorded countless times by the past masters and this version is probably the most famous of them all.

“Everyday I have the blues
When you see me worryin’ baby, yeah it’s you I hate to lose”

This is the way Blues was meant to be played and King is brilliant, a scrutinising perfectionist – he demands the best of everyone, including the audience. You don’t do 342 performances in a year without learning a few stage tricks. And while the legs may not be as strong as they once were, the fingers and mind remain nimble. The King of Blues indeed.

Words by Sam Ballard
Photos by Al de Perez

Discover more of Clash's coverage from the Glastonbury festival 2011 HERE

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