One of my earliest concert memories is going with my father to see Dr. John, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and B.B. King at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia on June 24, 1988. I remember really liking the show, but I was just a kid with limited appreciation for anything. I would love to be able to see that lineup again. Unfortunately, Dr. John passed away in June and we lost B.B. King in 2015. But at least I can still say I saw “Lucille.”
Items from B.B. King’s estate are heading to the auction block this fall, including his famed guitar, “Lucille.” Julien’s Auctions will hold the sale on September 21st in Beverly Hills. Other pieces up for bid are King’s National Medal of Arts award, his touring van, jewelry, and clothing. But all eyes will be on the black Gibson ES-345, given to the bluesman in 2005 for his 80th birthday. It’s estimated to fetch between $80,000 and $100,000.
While there have been other “Lucilles” over the years, the original got its name following a fight over a woman which led to a nightclub fire. King saved his guitar from the flames and named it after the woman as a reminder to himself. Here’s the story in his own words: