Shanise’s Corner: B.B. King – Not So Sweet Sixteen

Euphoric misery. Let that sink in for a second. Euphoric misery. You may be asking yourself – how is that even possible? B.B. King personifies that often inconceivable emotion from every touch of his guitar strings to the deep rooted sincerity of his rich tone. One does not get the title ‘King of the Blues’ with devoting their life to it. B.B. King is the bluest of blue.

In this video, we see B.B. King in Kinshasa, Zaire, performing live in 1974. The performance is a portion of a three-day celebration of black culture with a focus on sports and music, the reason why artists of different fields were brought together was for the Rumble in the Jungle heavyweight championship fight between George Foreman and Muhammad Ali.

Screen Shot - B.B. King performing live in Kinshasa 1974
Screen Shot – B.B. King performing live in Kinshasa, 1974

Here, B.B. performs the track ‘Sweet Sixteen‘ where he is confessing his love and sincerity in an act of desperation to convince his woman to hear his cries. In the song, he explains that he had just returned from the war in Vietnam when he first meets the woman who was just the tender age of sixteen. He is immediately smitten by her even in her full runaway state and wanted nothing more than to be with her. But this young girl didn’t want to do anything B.B. asked her to. Yet still, he loved her all the same. Now she longed to run away from him the same way she ran away from her home at sixteen. How can something so sweet bring so much pain?

Screen Shot
Screen Shot

In the words of the man himself: “You know you ran away from your home baby, now you wanna run away from ol’ me too.”

Take a few minutes to reflect on the blues with the legendary guitarist, Mr. B.B. King.

B.B. King – Sweet Sixteen (Live in Kinshasa 1974)

Director by: Leon Gast

Edited by: Keith Robinson and Leon Gast

Executive Producer: David Sonnenberg

Supervising Producer: Alan Douglas