The Thrill Is Gone (5:01)

Cover of King of the Blues Guitar

From King of the Blues Guitar and 240 other releases

“The Thrill Is Gone” is a blues song written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins in 1951 and popularized by B. B. King in 1970. The song was first recorded by Hawkins and became a minor hit for the musician. King recorded his version of the song in June 1969 for his album Completely Well, released the same year. The song’s polished production and use of strings marked a departure from both the original song and King’s previous material. When released as a single in December of 1969, the song became the biggest hit of King’s career (#3 R&B / #15 Pop) and his signature song. B. B. King’s recording earned him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998. King’s version of the song was also placed at number 183 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs ever. Memorable live versions of the song were included on King’s albums Live in Cook County Jail (1971), Bobby Bland and B.B. King Together Again…Live (1976), and Live at San Quentin (1991).

The song has been covered by numerous artists since B. B. King’s hit version, including Peggy Lee (1970), Luther Allison (1979), Dishwalla (1995), Aretha Franklin (1970), Little Milton (1973), Willie Nelson (2000), Stan Webb (1973), Jerry Garcia and David Grisman (1990s), Buckethead (2004), Steven Brown (Half Out, 1991), The Marshall Tucker Band (Stompin’ Room Only 2003), the Eric Steckel Band (Havana, 2006), Diamanda Galas, Leslie West (Got BLOOZE 2005), Theo Sinton (Emerald Blues, 2008) and Pappo (Buscando un amor, 2003) (Anthony Gardner, 2009).


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