B.B. King found the young Joe Bonamassa back 1989


Just a young kid from Utica, New York who enjoyed all the same things every kid does; hanging out with friends in school, playing outside, grabbing some chicken nuggets from McDonalds, and listening to music.  Most children sat on their bed to listen to the music, but Joe sat on his bed with his Clapton record on and played along.  Little did this young kid know that his future would be forever changed by a fortuitous meeting with B.B. King

Bonamassa played local gigs in upstate New York and at the age of 12 he had the monumental opportunity to open for B.B. King on a series of King’s upstate concerts.  It was from this opportunity that B.B. King spotted Joe’s talent and asked him to sit in with his band.   Joe ripped up the guitar and after his performance King said, “This kid’s potential is unbelievable.  He hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface.  He’s one of a kind.”  When the king of the blues has that to say about a 12 year old you know there must be something special.  Joe recalls after a summer of opening for B.B. King his teacher the following Fall asked the class to write an essay of what they did for their summer vacation.  The teacher, reading a child’s fantasy of being a touring rock musician, told Joe he wanted a truthful essay.  Shocked since he wrote the truth, Joe told the teacher the whole story and later gave him an autograph!

B.B. King has watched Joe grow, and to this day is happy to say that Joe is his friend.  Mr. King recently recorded a duet called “Night Life” on Bonamassa’s last album Black Rock.  The two talk regularly and Joe still gets a kick out of hearing Mr. King’s stories of touring and performing.  You can hear all of Joe’s influences in his playing while still rocking out with his own ball breaking sound.

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