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BB King: French Connection

In a previously unpublished interview, BB King headed to Paris to talk about his influences, his time in the company of Elvis and how U2 helped find him a whole new audience.

It is a Saturday night in Paris in November 1992, and love has clearly come to town. Backstage, at Le Zénith arena, the crew have formed a guard of honour outside the main dressing room. The door opens, and out steps BB King, a colossal presence in a white dinner jacket and black bow tie. Everyone breaks into applause. It’s an impressive moment, but nothing on the sight of 6,000 people being brought to their feet as the king of the blues walks on stage minutes later.

BB King, who has just released a definitive 77-track box set, is halfway through a three-week European tour with the Robert Cray band. I am here to interview both acts as part of a blues boom special for Vox magazine.

On stage and off, BB King radiates warmth and geniality, and Robert Cray sums up the mood of the night when he says, “Just to be around the guy is a whole good feeling.” 

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