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Wyman recalls B.B. King guitar lesson

Ex Rolling Stone couldn’t pick up trick – but late blues icon was “so sweet” about it

Bill Wyman has recalled the moment B.B. King tried to teach him his signature guitar trick – but the ex Rolling Stone couldn’t learn it.

King died in his sleep on Thursday night, at the age of 89, after an illness.

The Stones first met him in 1969 when they toured the US and invited him to join them. Wyman tells the BBC: “I was able to stand side stage and just watch B.B. with his band. You realised just what a talent he was. It was the way he played.”

The last time he met King was in 2009. He remembers: “He could do that tremolo beautifully. He asked me if I could do it, and I said, ‘No, I’m a bass player.’ He sat me down with his guitar and I tried to do it – but it was impossible for me. He kept saying, ‘Come on, you can do it.’ He was so sweet.”

Wyman adds: “He had a lot of humour and he told wonderful stories about the past. He influenced so many guitarists with that style. He was unique.

“He’s a giant of the 20th century, like Ray Charles, Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington and people like that. He was really loved.”

A post on King’s website quotes the late icon saying: “The blues was bleeding the same blood as me” and invites fans to share their memories.

US president Barack Obama yesterday said: “There’s going to be one killer blues session in Heaven tonight.” Later former president George W Bush posted his own Facebook tribute, saying: “The King is dead, but the thrill is not gone.”

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