Top 10 B.B. King Songs

B.B. King is a legend that left a legacy of blues music that is practically canonical in the bible of the blues. From the time that he released his first single in 1949 to his last days as a performing musician before his death at the age of 89, he delighted audiences around the world with his legendary live shows. Over the course of his career, King released over sixty albums that were comprised of studio productions, live recordings, and compilation albums along with dozens of singles. He won every award that it was possible for a music artist to win along with fifteen Grammys. These 10 songs are but a sample of his massive legacy.

10. “Three O’Clock Blues”

“Three O’Clock Blues” was B.B. King’s first hit and became one of the best selling R&B singles in 1952. An earlier recording artist named Lowell Fulson had a hit with it in 1948 when 78rpm records were the standard.

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9. “Riding With the King”

“Riding With the King” is the title song from an album of the same name that featured both Eric Clapton and B.B. King. The album won a grammy for “Best Traditional Blues” in 2001.

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8. “When Love Comes To Town”

“When Love Comes To Town” features B.B. King on U2’s 1988 album Rattle and Hum. It was produced in Memphis, Tennessee at Sun Recording Studio where King recorded his first songs.

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7. “Rock Me Baby”

7. “Rock Me Baby” was B.B. King’s first single to reach the Top 40 of the Hot 100 chart from Billboard magazine. King reworked a blues standard that had earlier renditions by other blues artists like Muddy Waters and was later performed by artists like Jimi Hendrix.

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6. “You Upset Me Baby”

“You Upset Me Baby” is taken from B.B. King The West Coast Years 1954-1958 and was his fourth #1 R&B hit. The lyrics are risqué and the lush studio production was reproduced in his live shows.

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5. “Paying The Cost To Be The Boss”

“Paying The Cost To Be The Boss” came from 1968’s Blues On Top Of Blues. It was King’s fourteenth studio album, was on the “BluesWay” label, and reached #46 on Billboard’s R&B album chart.

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4. “Chains and Things”

“Chains and Things” from 1970’s Indianola Mississippi Seeds was a followup trying to capitalize on the success of “The Thrill Is Gone.” The song is more pop and rock leaning than his earlier work and even features legendary singer, songwriter Carole King on piano.

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3. “Sweet Sixteen”

“Sweet Sixteen” was a hit for King in 1960 and was included on his 1971 release, B.B. King Live In Cook County Jail. B.B. King and Joe Josea took the song that was originally written by Ahmet Ertegun and became a hit for Joe Turner in 1952 and re-worked it.

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2. “Why I Sing The Blues”

“Why I Sing The Blues” appeared on 1969’s Live And Well album with a studio band that included seminal blues legend Al Kooper on keyboards. The video for the song is from a concert in South Africa in 1974.

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1. “The Thrill Is Gone”

“The Thrill Is Gone” is B.B. King’s signature song and was released on 1969’s 33 rpm record release of Completely Well which was his 17th studio album. The album was produced by future Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk and records King at the absolute peak of his guitar playing prowess.

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Bob Gersztyn

Bob Gersztyn began attending concerts and musical performances as a teenager in Detroit, Michigan, when Motown was beginning and the by the end of the 1960’s he was attending multiple shows every week of everyone from Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels to the Four Tops, along with Jimi Hendrix, the Doors, and hundreds of other artists. In 1971 Bob’s musical direction changed and he became involved in promoting gospel rock music, also known as Jesus rock and witnessed and photographed hundreds of performances by everyone from Andrae` Crouch and the Disciples to Larry Norman. In the 1990’s Bob began to cover concerts for music magazines like “Duprees Diamond News,” “Guitar Player” and LIVE. By the 21st century Bob was writing, interviewing and photographing everyone from performers and producers to other photographers and painters. He has published 6 books and lives in Salem, Oregon with his wife of 49 years and teaches photography at the local community college part time. He has 7 children and 6 grandchildren.

One thought on “Top 10 B.B. King Songs

  • September 6, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Better Not Look Down
    Into The Night
    Don’t Answer The Door


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