“BB King Overcame His Fear to Deliver the Best Performance of His Life at Sing Sing Prison”

BB King initially felt terrified to perform at Sing Sing prison for the inmates, but later declared it the best show of his career. Filmmaker David Hoffman captured this historic event at the maximum-security facility and uploaded it to YouTube. During the Thanksgiving concert, King dazzled with his signature song, “How Blue Can You Get,” showcasing both his musical and comedic talents.

King started the performance with some light-hearted banter, demonstrating his quick wit alongside his legendary guitar skills. His unique sound shone through in the opening solo, and when the band joined in, King’s soulful and passionate vocals took over. The inmates were captivated, responding with enthusiastic applause, dancing, and laughter.

The concert took place in 1972 at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York. Speaking to NPR, King revealed his initial fear, stating, “I’ve played a lot of prisons since, but Sing Sing is the only one I can remember by name because I was so scared. I thought it was the end of my life.”

David Hoffman, who documented the performance, noted the emotional impact it had on King. The inmates’ appreciation eased his fears, and King later described it as his best performance up to that point. Another standout from the Sing Sing show is “Outside Help.”

King’s rendition of “How Blue Can You Get” has garnered 22.7 million views on YouTube, becoming one of his most celebrated performances on the platform. Fans praised the performance, leaving comments like, “Words cannot describe what it is these old blues men have. Their attitude blended with life experience plus music. Just imagine if we didn’t have any of these guys” and “To see an audience of tough inmates react with the joy of giddy school kids was incredible. It’s like the truth of the blues flowed out of BB in its purest form, and finally somebody briefly understood them.”

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