“B.B. King personified blues music for the whole world,” says Austin City Limits executive producer Terry Lickona, “but when he first appeared on Austin City Limits in 1983 it was rare for a blues artist to command a full hour on national television.” In honor of the legacy of the undisputed King of the Blues, ACL is proud to bring that special hour out of the vault and back to television for the first time in 22 years.
The first of two legendary appearances on ACL, King’s debut episode was recorded in 1982 and originally broadcast in 1983 as part of Season 8 (and revived once before as a classic encore in 1993). The show spans the length and breadth of his career to that point, from his then-new album Love Me Tender (including “Since I Met You, Baby” and the title track, a cover of the Elvis Presley classic) to his own standards “Everyday I Have the Blues” and “The Thrill is Gone.” In a powerhouse performance, King hits full-force with a voice that is neither harsh nor sweet, that bends, like his fingers, with each note.
“There was electricity in Studio 6A that night like no other,” says Lickona. “It was pure B.B. – just him, Lucille and one of the best road bands he ever toured with. He mixed up hardcore blues with Elvis ballads, and had the audience in the palm of his hand, following his every lead. It was historic!”
“He was larger than life, but a gentle man with a kind soul and big heart. His ACL performance ranks as one of my personal favorites, and I was never more proud than when he somehow slipped ‘Austin City Limits’ into the lyric of his classic rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Night Life.’ We’ve lost a giant.”
Once again for the first time, welcome to the Austin City Limits stage: the King of the Blues, Mr. B.B. King.
EPISODE LISTSeason 8
B.B. King (Season 8)
- Celebrate the new year with ACL’s Hall of Fame 2016
- Leon Russell R.I.P.
- Austin City Limits Hall of Fame 2016 induction ceremony a huge success
- ACL announces Hall of Fame 2016 talent and ticket on-sale date
- Austin City Limits announces Hall of Fame 2016 inductees
- Encore: B.B. King May 30th
- B.B. King 1925-2015
- ACL @ the Alamo: Stevie Ray Vaughan