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BB King's 'Lucille' guitar going up for auction

  • 23 Jul 2019

King christened all of his black Gibson guitars 'Lucille' after a woman that two men fought over in a dance hall where he was playing.

BB King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. ( AP Archive )

Her name was "Lucille," and in BB King's hands she gave voice to the "King of the Blues."

Julien's Auctions announced on Tuesday that King's black Gibson ES-345 prototype guitar is among the items from his estate that will go up for bid on September 21.

Julien's says Gibson gave King the instrument for his 80th birthday. The headstock has "B.B. King 80" and a crown inlaid with mother-of-pearl. The guitar is estimated to be worth $80,000 to $100,000.

King will forever be associated with his trademark black Gibson guitars, all of which he christened “Lucille” in recollection of a woman who two men fought over in 1949 in an Arkansas dance hall where he was playing.

The men knocked over a kerosene lamp, setting fire to the building. King risked his life to retrieve his $30 guitar.

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time ranked King at No 3, behind only Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman.

The National Medal of Arts that President George HW Bush presented to King in 1990 is also up for auction. So are his touring van, jewellery and clothing.

The 15-time Grammy winner was 89 years old when he died in 2015.

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