The Thrill Is Gone

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"The Thrill Is Gone"
Single by B.B. King
from the album Completely Well
B-side"You're Mean"
ReleasedDecember 1969 (1969-12)
Format7-inch 45 rpm
RecordedJune 1969
GenreR&B, soul blues
LabelBluesway/ABC Records
Songwriter(s)Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
B.B. King singles chronology
"Just a Little Love"
"The Thrill Is Gone"
"So Excited"

"The Thrill Is Gone" is a slow minor-key blues song written by West Coast blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951. Hawkins' recording of the song reached number six in the Billboard R&B chart in 1951.[1] In 1970, "The Thrill Is Gone" became a major hit for B.B. King. His rendition helped make the song a blues standard.[2]

B.B. King rendition[edit]

B.B. King recorded his version of "The Thrill Is Gone" in June 1969 for his album Completely Well, released the same year. King's version is a slow 12-bar blues notated in the key of B minor in 4/4 time.[3] The song's polished production and use of strings marked a departure from both the original song and King's previous material. When released as a single in December 1969, the song became one of the biggest hits of King's career, appearing in the R&B chart at number three and the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart at number 15[4] and became one of his signature songs.

B.B. King's recording earned him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1970 and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998. King's version of the song was also placed at number 183 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. Memorable live versions of the song were included on King's albums Live in Cook County Jail (1971), Bobby Bland and B.B. King Together Again...Live (1976), and Live at San Quentin (1991).[5]

Chart performance[edit]

Roy Hawkins version[edit]

Year Chart Position
1951 Billboard Rhythm & Blues Singles 6

B.B. King version[edit]

Year Chart Position
1970 Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles 3
Billboard Hot 100 15


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 184. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  2. ^ Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Thrill Is Gone (The)". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 454. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
  3. ^ Hal Leonard (1995). "The Thrill Is Gone". The Blues. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hal Leonard. p. 220. ISBN 0-79355-259-1.
  4. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 236. Note: Technically speaking, "The Thrill Is Gone" was not the biggest hit of King's career, even if it has come to be known as the song with which he is most identified. "Three O'Clock Blues," released 1951, has the distinction of being his first, and biggest hit. It stayed on the Billboard charts for 17 weeks, and held the number one position for a total of 5 weeks.
  5. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 4, 2011.