BB King's 'Lucille' guitar to be auctioned along with other personal items

  • Blues legend used instrument on tour in his later years
  • Touring van, jewellery and clothing also on sale in Beverly Hills

As the “king of the blues”, BB King was dedicated to his guitars – nicknaming each of them “Lucille” and even writing a song about them.

Soon fans will be able to take home a Lucille of their very own in the form of a limited edition guitar that was given to King on his 80th birthday, nine years before his death.

The instrument, said to have been regularly used by the legendary musician, and as his main guitar while on tour in his later years, is to go on sale in Los Angeles in September when it is expected to fetch between $80,000 and $100,000 at auction.

The headstock of the black Gibson ES-345 prototype features the message “BB King 80” and an inlaid crown decorated with mother of pearl.

The auction, at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills on 21 September, will also include the 15-time Grammy winner’s touring van, jewellery and clothing as well as the National Medal of Arts that he was presented by President George HW Bush in 1990.

Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions, said the auction honored “an American national treasure, the mighty BB King.

“This splendid collection … is a testament to King’s revered stature among rock royalty,” he said.

The blues star from Mississippi, born Riley B King and later nicknamed Blues Boy, or BB, said the name Lucille originated from a near death experience when he rescued his guitar from a fire at a nightclub in Arkansas after two men started fighting.

“The building was a wooden building, and it was burning so fast when I got my guitar, it started to collapse around me. So I almost lost my life trying to save the guitar,” he told NPR.

“But the next morning, we found that these two guys who was fighting was fighting about a lady. I never did meet the lady, but I learned that her name was Lucille. So I named my guitar Lucille and reminded me not to do a thing like that again.”


Miranda Bryant in New York

The GuardianTramp

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