Ol' Blues Boy and his sweet-sounding better half, Lucille — a fine and fat-bodied Gibson — will be rockin' 'n' rollin' in Miami this Wednesday. The romance between B.B. and his beautiful guitar is one of music's greatest love stories. And it began decades ago on a snowy night in a ramshackle blues joint.
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"We used to play at this little nightclub," King has recalled. "And in winter, it got pretty cold there. They would take something that looked like a big garbage pail, half fill it with kerosene, and light that fuel, set it in the middle of the dance floor, and that's what we used for heat."
Sounds insanely dangerous, right? Well, once upon a winter night, "Two guys start to fightin', and one knocked the other one on this container. It spilled on the floor and it looked like a river of fire... Everybody started to run for the front door, including B.B. King. But when I got on the outside, I realized that I'd left my guitar inside. So I went back for it... I almost lost my life tryin' to save my guitar.
8 p.m. Wednesday, January 4, at the Adrienne Arsht Center, 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; 305-949-6722; arshtcenter.org. Tickets cost $49 to $99.
"And the next morning, we found that these two guys was fightin' about a lady who worked in the little nightclub. I never did meet her. But I learned that her name was Lucille... I named my guitar Lucille to remind me to never do a thing like that again."
Maybe. But if someone spills kerosene at the Arsht Center, you can bet that B.B. will be running back inside to save that fine and fat-bodied Gibson. She's just too fine to leave behind.