Fun_People Archive
15 Mar
Who's that guy up there with B.B. King?

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 98 14:52:22 -0800
To: Fun_People
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Subject: Who's that guy up there with B.B. King?

Forwarded-by: Jef Jaisun <>

Press release from the B.B. King website:

B.B. King meets the Pope and performs at Vatican Christmas concert

On December 18, 1997, B.B. King had an audience with Pope John Paul II and
performed at the fifth edition of the Vatican Christmas Concert on December
19, 1997, at the hall of Paolo VI. The aim of the concert was to remind the
public throughout the world of the church of Rome's cherished project to
build 50 new churches in the city suburbs as tangible fruit of the 2000

B.B. King performed "Merry Christmas Baby" and "Christmas Celebration" on
an all-star international program with the 84 piece Royal Monaco Orchestra
(Orchestra Filarmonica Del Principato Monaco) conducted by Renato Serio.

B.B. King donated his services for this historic event; the Vatican picked
up his airfare and hotel. King, his long time manager Sid Seidenberg and
his personal assistant Joe McClendon, were required to be at all parties
and festivities and ate at the banquets. King sent copies of his albums to
the Vatican prior to the performance and had to write out al the charts for
the orchestra. There were two days of rehearsals. The concert was later
shown on television around the globe, for over two billion people.

Prince Ranier of Monaco told B.B. King that there was only one thing wrong
with the show. "It was only two songs," he said, "maybe next time you can
play longer."

King presented the Pope with a guitar - a sister of Lucille. "The Pope said
thank you for the guitar," reminisced King, "and he grabbed hold of it like
he knew how to handle a guitar."

"I heard from a friend," smiled King, "that after we left, the Pope strummed
the guitar and played "The Thrill Is Gone."

B.B. King is the true King of the Blues having performed consistently for
50 years, averaging over 200 concerts a year and having toured in 82
countries. "from picking cotton in Mississippi to becoming a self taught
guitarist," said Seidenberg, "B.B.'s work ethic has carried him through
tough times to an international artist playing for kings, queens,
presidents, prime ministers and now the Pope."

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