TIME

Everything B.B. ever did, I loved — just the way he’d bend his notes. Everything. He represented all the different stages of blues, and I don’t think anybody resonated more emotionally and spiritually than B.B. He took the essence of the culture of what blues and R&B was, and he brought it around the world — until he was 89.

I first met B.B. King working on the film For Love of Ivy, starring Sidney Poitier. I did the score to that, and Maya Angelou, who was in her 30s at the time, wrote the lyrics. She wrote two songs, “B.B. Jones” and “You Put it on Me,” and B.B. recorded them. They were hits! That was a great trio, the three of us. I think they had a little romantic relationship, there, too — she didn’t tell me until about four years ago. I said, “Honey, if you’d…

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