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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)
RecordedJune 1969
GenreR&B, soul blues
  • 3:55 (single version)
  • 5:30 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Rick Darnell, Roy Hawkins[1]
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
B.B. King singles chronology
"Just a Little Love"
"The Thrill Is Gone"
"So Excited"
Official audio
"The Thrill Is Gone" (album version) on YouTube

"The Thrill Is Gone" is a slow minor-key blues song written by West Coast blues musician Roy Hawkins and Rick Darnell in 1951.[1] Hawkins's recording of the song reached number six in the Billboard R&B chart in 1951.[2] In 1970, "The Thrill Is Gone" became a major hit for B.B. King. His rendition helped make the song a blues standard.[3]

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.[4] The song's polished production and use of strings marked a departure from both the original song and King's previous material.

When BluesWay Records released "The Thrill Is Gone" as a single in December 1969, it became one of the most successful of King's career and one of his signature songs. It reached number three in the Billboard Best Selling Soul Singles chart and number 15 in the broader Billboard Hot 100 chart.[5]

B.B. King's recording earned him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1970[6] and a Grammy Hall of Fame award in 1998.[7] 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. 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).[8]

Aretha Franklin version[edit]

Aretha Franklin covered the song on her 1970 album, Spirit in the Dark.[9]


  1. ^ a b "The Thrill Is Gone — B.B. King (ABC Bluesway, 1969)". The Blues Foundation. November 10, 2016. Retrieved March 15, 2020. Writers' credits on the first B.B. releases went to Arthur H. Benson and Dale Pettite, but are now filed under Hawkins and Rick Darnell.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 184. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  3. ^ Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Thrill Is Gone (The)". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 454. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
  4. ^ Hal Leonard (1995). "The Thrill Is Gone". The Blues. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Hal Leonard. p. 220. ISBN 0-79355-259-1.
  5. ^ Whitburn 1988, p. 236.
  6. ^ "Grammy Award Results for B.B. King: 13th Annual Grammy Awards (1970) – Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male "The Thrill Is Gone"". The Recording Academy. 1970. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  7. ^ "Grammy Hall of Fame – B.B. King: "The Thrill Is Gone" BluesWay (1969) (Single)". The Recording Academy. 1998. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
  8. ^ Greenwald, Matthew. "B.B. King: The Thrill Is Gone – Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Silver, Mark (July 1, 2011). "Aretha Franklin: Sweet, Bitter Blues". NPR. Retrieved February 20, 2024.