The Thrill is Gone

Album: Completely Well (1969)
Charted: 15
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was written and originally recorded by the blues musician Roy Hawkins in 1951. In the 1950s, King was a Memphis radio DJ who played the Roy Hawkins original on the air. The song is about moving on from a relationship that has gone bad.
  • King recorded the song several times but didn't like any of the results. Producer Bill Szymczyk (most famous for producing the Eagles) called King at 4:00 a.m. and suggested the addition of strings (King later said that he'd agree to just about anything at that time of the night). The addition polished up the recording that gave King his first million-selling record.
  • This was B.B. King's biggest hit. He didn't have much success on the charts, but became a blues legend who influenced a generation of musicians. King passed away in 2015 at age 89.
  • King recorded this live at The Coconut Grove in 1976 with fellow blues legend Bobby "Blue" Bland. B.B. had to be begged by Bobby to play the tune, and after some chiding, he agreed. During the performance Bobby Bland noticed a woman named Viola singing in the audience and brought her up on stage.
  • Tracy Chapman recorded this as a duet with B.B. King for his 1997 Deuces Wild album. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Music video director Thom Oliphant shot the clip for the King/Chapman duet at a hotel in Oakland, California. "What we created for 'The Thrill is Gone' was this guy looking back on his life and the great moments of it that had happened," he said in his Songfacts interview. That song is such a classic, I mean, how do you really do a video to it?"

    The story revolved around the actors while King and Chapman performed in the lobby, which suited King just fine. "At the time, almost everything B.B. had done were these great documentary moments where it was him on stage with his guitar. He hadn't really done anything that was conceptual. So he didn't really participate that much in it, because he's reticent to be anything other than B.B. King."
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Comments: 19

  • Patrick Aloysius from Hell,caCheck out a guy named Byther Smith's version of this song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 18th 1970, B. B. King performed "The Thrill is Gone" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Ten months earlier on December 21st, 1969 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #100; and on February 15th, 1970 it peaked at #15 {for 2 weeks} and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1951 and 1992 he had seventy-two records on the R&B Singles chart; twenty made the Top 10 with four reaching #1, "3 O'Clock Blues" {1951}, "You Know I Love You" {1952}, "Please Love Me" {1953}, and "You Upset Me Baby" {1954}...
    He just missed having six #1 records when "Sweet Sixteen, Part One" {1960} and "Don't Answer the Door, Part One" {1966} both peaked at #2...
    Mr. King, born Riley B.* King, celebrated his 89th birthday just over a month ago on September 16th {2014}...
    * 'B' is his real middle name; it is not an abbreviation.
  • Namfos from Washington, DcA stellar live rendition of The Thrill Is Gone can be found on Live in Cook County Jail - a recording that's up there with Live At The Regal
  • John from South Yarmouth, MaIs this a true blues or an altered blues. Anybody have ideas on playing it?
  • Hd from Long Beach, CaThis is without question one of my favorite BB King songs and one of my favs period. The string arrangement really sets the song apart from all others of its type. The strings really add to the sadness of the situation. Additionally, if you ever want to hear a definitional BB King song, find, listen, and study the 60's classic of his "Five Long Years". Excellent!
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InEven though it was a Hawkins song originally, this will forever be B.B.'s signature song, with perhaps "Ghetto Woman" coming in second.
    I consider myself very privileged for having seen B.B. twice, both time in Indianapolis.
    The first time was at Beef & Boards, and the second was at the Murat.
    What a killer performer, and what a genuinely nice guy.
    It's hard to believe an old guy in his (at the time) 70s can just sing and play guitar so damn well.
    Keep it going, B.B.!
  • Rafael from Lisboa, PortugalMan what can i say about b.b, hes a legend, my favourite bluesman along with buddy guy, i agree with paul form birmingham, bb is a true bluesman and a great man.
  • Melimel from Normal, IlI am a huge BB King Fan! His concerts get better and better with time. Every one needs to experience this Great Bluesman in concert at least once in their life!!
  • P.a. from Paris, FranceGreat song, it has become some kind of business card of his, he played it live with Clapton, Gary Moore, recorded a version with Tracy Chapman...nice, but the one with the string section! Just the short drumming intro, heavy bass and very light guitar, damn!
  • Chandrashekhar from Pune, Indiaa song dat one cud aapreciate as a great blues track true.........but one cud best understand the song when the thrill is really gone......... king u understand wat i mean
  • Walter from Taylor, PaThis song is purhaps the best blues song ever! I listen to it repeatedly one more than one occasion when a relationship failled.
  • Madalyn from Greensburg, Pawhen i was 13 i got me and my dad some tickets for christmas to a b.b. king concert in pittsburgh i called the night before (cause i didn't know he was coming into town) the concert to see if i could get anything so i purchased the tickets over the phone and figured at such late notice we wood probly be behind a great big pillar or something, so we got there the next day and i went to pick up the tickets and...they were front row orcrastra seats...CLOSER then the front row they were behind us...basicly i was at the kings feet and while he was playing this song he looked at me and said come here do you like the blues little girl...and i said i wouldn't be here if i didn't love the blues mr.king...then he handed me a necklace and some pins...a night i won't soon to forget.
  • Robert from Santa Barbara, CaBB King's name is Riley B. King.
  • Paul from Birmingham, EnglandCharlie DC you,re right BB is the greatest alive but Ive sen muddy waters and wish I had seen lighting hopkins THEY were the greatest
  • Paul from Birmingham, EnglandAs a brit i'me glad there is at least one song on this blues list that is "the Blues" The late john bonham of led zep was born in the next road to me but no way were they a blues band
  • Tomas from Sthlm, SwedenI met BB King in 2004. Well, what can I say? "You can see it in his face, the blues is alive"
    He IS the blues. All I could tell him was that I play the blues myself.
    He's done so much for music.
  • Pat from Las Vegas, NvAround 1970 or so I saw Chicago in concert, with BB King as the lead-in act (The Thrill Is Gone was on the charts at the time). BB was absolutely excellent and got two standing ovations.

    Peter Cetera got upset with the ovations, and Chicago played lousy that night. BB gained a lot of fans that night (including me), and Chicago lost a lot of fans.
  • Logan from Abilene, TxB.B. King is a really great bluesman, yes. But honestly, I've always been a bigger fan of John Lee Hooker. King's blues are a little bit too "suit and tie" for me, the juke joint rural sound is more my style. R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough kind of music. But for what he does, that clean, Chicago style blues, he is the absolute greatest, I'll grant that.
  • Charlie from Thomaston, Ctplease SOMEBODY post a comment! i want to see some fans of the king and im not talking about elvis, im talking about the king of the blues!
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