Eric Clapton pays his respects to his close friend B.B. King, who died last night at the age of 89, in a video he posted on Facebook. A close friend of the late blues legend, Clapton also cites King as one of his greatest influences. "He was a beacon for all of us who loved this kind of music, and I thank him from the bottom of my heart," he told fans in the remembrance video.
In his autobiography, Clapton wrote that B.B. King was "without a doubt the most important artist the blues has ever produced."
He and King first jammed together in 1967, when the then–22-year-old Cream rocker performed alongside the legendary bluesman at New York's Cafe Au Go Go. The two guitar greats continued to perform live together frequently in the ensuing decades. They eventually entered the studio together to record "Rock Me Baby," a track off King's 1997 duets album Deuces Wild. In 2000, Clapton and King teamed for their Grammy-winning album Riding With the King. They partnered once more in the studio for "The Thrill Is Gone," which appeared on King's 2005 LP 80.
Here are some of Clapton and King's greatest moments together, from their 2010 Crossroads Festival appearance to their all-star performance for B.B. King's 1987 concert film A Blues Session.
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