B.B. King

The Thrill Is Gone

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Song Review by Matthew Greenwald

B.B. King's biggest chart success in the pop arena, "The Thrill Is Gone," provided him with a long overdue crossover hit in 1970. Using a blues-rock basis for the main melody, King casts the entire song in a very heavy jazz feel and flavor, attacking each verse with a world-weary vocal and some radical and sinewy guitar arpeggios. The feeling of breaking free from a possessive lover is the main basis for the lyrics, and King's use of blues imagery is perfect for the song, which indeed provided real release. But its the song's overall groove that is the star here, giving the overall piece a definitive atmosphere. This is, in fact, the lesson that he had been teaching all of his students from Michael Bloomfield to Eric Clapton in the '60s, and although many of their records preceded his on the charts, it was this exquisite piece at the dawn of the '70s that defined the blues movement. The single version is a necessity, but the extended live version on Live at San Quentin is extremely potent, and gives the listener the same feel in a bigger, more grandiose package.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Completely Well 1969 MCA 5:30
The Best of B.B. King [1973 MCA] 1973 MCA 5:25
No Image 1987 MCA
No Image 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
The Best of the Blues [MCA Special Products] 1990
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 5:33
No Image 1991 Image Entertainment
Classic Soul [MCA] 1991
Various Artists
MCA 5:24
Why I Sing the Blues 1992 MCA 5:28
Rhythm & Blues: 1970 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Feelin' the Blues [GRP] 1993
Various Artists
GRP 5:24
Soul Patrol, Vol. 1 1994
Various Artists
Ripete Records 5:24
Soul Train: Hall of Fame, 20th Anniversary 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 5:26
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Universal Special Products
Born Under a Bad Sign [Alex] 1995
Various Artists
4:55
Billboard Hot Soul Hits: 1970 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 4:02
Heaven's Prisoners 1995
Original Soundtrack
Code Blue
Casino [Original Soundtrack] 1995
Original Soundtrack
MCA 5:26
Blues Story, Vol. 1 1996
Various Artists
ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 4:53
Rock On 1970 1996
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:28
Blues Classics [MCA] 1996
Various Artists
MCA 5:26
ABC's of Soul, Vol. 1: Classics from the ABC Records Catalog 1961-1969 1996
Various Artists
Hip-O
Blues Collection: 100 Blues Hits 1996
Various Artists
Madacy 2:19
Ghosts of Mississippi 1997 Columbia / Sony Music Distribution
Paying the Cost to Be the Boss 1997 Laserlight 4:54
Legends of Blues [Intercontinental] 1997
Various Artists
Intercontinental Records 4:51
Rock On: 1970-1974 1997
Various Artists
Madacy 5:25
3 for 3: B.B. King, John Lee Hooker & Lightnin' Hopkins 1997 St. Clair / 3 for 3 4:51
Blues Collection 1997 Galaxy Music 5:10
Essential Blues Guitar 1997
Various Artists
House Of Blues 5:26
New York Undercover: A Night at Natalie's 1998
Original TV Soundtrack
MCA 5:04
Soul Classics: Timeless 1998
Various Artists
Delta Distribution 4:55
Generations of Blues, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Vanguard 5:23
No Image 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution
Greatest Hits [MCA] 1998 Geffen / MCA 5:28
Blues: Gold Collection 1998
Various Artists
Fine Tune 5:13
Esquire Soul Classics 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 5:23
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Hard Rock Records (Rhino)
Solid Gold Soul: Soul Gems 1998
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:04
Back 2 Back [Intercontinental/Masters] 1998 Masters 5:00
Back 2 Back [Excelsior] 1998 Excelsior Recordings
Whole Lotta Blues: Masters 1999
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 5:26
Payback 1999
Original Soundtrack
Varese 5:24
Basic Blues, Vol. 1-3 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 5:30
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of B.B. King 1999 Geffen / MCA 5:27
Born on the Blues 1999
Various Artists
Universal Special Products / MCA 5:33
Move to the Groove 1999 Jazz Time Records 5:15
Home of the Blues [MCA] 1999
Various Artists
MCA 5:24
His Definitive Greatest Hits 1999 Interscope 5:24
The Ultimate Grammy Box: From the Recording Academy's Collection 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:25
Best of Blues [Legacy 12] 2000
Various Artists
Legacy 5:04
Midnight Blues [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:06
Solid Gold Soul: Deep Soul 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 4:06
Every Day I Have the Blues [Goldies Box] 2000
Various Artists
Goldies 4:59
High Profile 2000 Direct Source 4:53
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:55
Simply Blues 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:54
Shades of Blue [Direct Source] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:55
Birth of the Blues [Box Set] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 4:56
Axe Men: The Greatest Guitar Stars of All Time 2000
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 5:03
The Thrill is Gone [Legend] 2000 Legend 4:54
Blues for a Stormy Monday 2000
Various Artists
Bellmark Records / Bellmark 4:58
No Image 2000 Cleopatra / Golden Music 4:52
New Millennium Blues Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 4:04
Forever Gold: The Best of the Blues 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:56
The Anthology 2000 MCA 5:25
Best of Blues, Vol. 2 [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 5:06
The Gold Collection: History of the Blues from Aco 2001
Various Artists
Fine Tune 5:04
Black and White Box of Jazz [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Pulse 5:00
Forever Gold: Electric Blues 2001
Various Artists
St. Clair 4:56
Pure Blues 2001
Various Artists
UTV 4:01
The Signature Series 2001 Direct Source 5:00
King of the Blues [Dressed to Kill] 2001 Dressed To Kill 5:01
Gold Collection [Fine Tune] 2001 Fine Tune 5:01
Blues Legendes 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 5:26
American Roots Music [Highlights] 2001
Various Artists
Palm 5:24
B.B. King [Dressed To Kill] 2001 Dressed To Kill 5:01
B.B. Boogie 2002 Orpheus Records 4:20
No Image 2002 Dressed To Kill 5:01
Blues & Soul Masters 2002
Various Artists
WEA International 5:00
Natural Blues, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Wrasse 5:08
Black & Proud 2002
Various Artists
Golden Stars 5:00
Greatest Hits [Universal Japan] 2002 Geffen 5:28
The Best Of Blues Classics 20th Century Masters The Millennium Collection 2003
Various Artists
MCA 5:26
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 5:26
Black Jack 21 Essential Classics 2003 Cleopatra / Stardust Records 4:52
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: The Best of the Blues 2003
Various Artists
UTV 5:25
Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues: A Musical Journey 2003
Original Soundtrack
Hip-O 4:03
The Blue Box of Blues 2003
Various Artists
Millenia Records / Millennia Records 5:18
Completely Well/Live in Cook County Jail 2004 Beat Goes On 6:19
Back 2 Back: The Ultimate Collection 2004 Double Play Records 4:59
Anthology: Sound+Vision [2 CD & DVD] 2004 MCA / Geffen 5:25
Midnight Blues [Time Life] 2004
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 5:27
The Anthology 1962-1998 [Bonus DVD] 2004 Master Classics 4:52
Mr. Blues [United Audio] 2004 United Audio Entertainment 5:00
Everyday I Have the Blues [Platinum Disc] 2004 Platinum Disc 4:58
Best of the Blues [2005 Madacy] 2005
Various Artists
Madacy 5:00
B.B. King [Platinum Disc] 2005 Platinum Disc 4:58
The Ultimate Collection 2005 Geffen 5:25
Beginner's Guide to the Blues 2005
Various Artists
Demon Records / Nascente 4:58
Chronicles: Live at the Regal/Blues Is King/Live in Cook County Jail 2005 MCA 6:18
Blues: Gold 2006
Various Artists
Hip-O 5:25
Best of B.B. King [3CD] 2006 Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:28
Gold 2006 Geffen 5:25
Guitar Heroes, Vol. 1 2006
Various Artists
Music Avenue 5:00
Paraiso Tropical: Internacional 2007
Various Artists
Som Livre 5:24
Playlist Plus 2008 Geffen 5:25
Favorites 2008 Geffen 5:24
No Image 2008
Various Artists
Decca / Universal Distribution 5:25
Ultimate Blues [Decca] 2009
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 5:26
Icon 2 2011 Geffen 5:25
The Best of B.B. King [2012] 2012 Geffen / Universal 5:26
Plug It In! Turn It Up! Electric Blues - The Definitive Collection, Pt. 4: 1970-2005 2012
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 5:23
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. B.B. King 2012 Universal 5:25
The Life of Riley [The Soundtrack] 2012 Geffen 5:26
The Blues Anthology 2015 Cleopatra / Master Classics / Stardust Records 4:52
The Vietnam War: A Film by Ken Burns & Lynn Novick - The Soundtrack 2017
Various Artists
Universal 4:02
Best of Blues [2019]
Various Artists
Universal 5:25
Best of the Blues [Universal]
Various Artists
Universal 5:25
Blues Hits
Various Artists
Universal 5:25
Blues Le origini
Various Artists
Universal 5:26
No Image
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Blues Noir
Various Artists
Universal 5:33
Blues Rocking
Various Artists
Universal 4:59
Blues and Jazz
Various Artists
Universal 5:26
Chill Jazz Hits
Various Artists
Universal 5:25
Deep South Blues Hits
Various Artists
Universal 5:25
GRP 30: The Digital Master Company 30th Anniversary
Various Artists
GRP / Verve 0:00
NOW Blues Classics
Various Artists
Universal 5:26
Super Blues, Vol.1
Various Artists
Concord 5:04
The Best of B.B. King: Green Series Strategic Marketing 5:25
No Image
Various Artists
Dino Entertainment