B.B. King Viewed By Thousands on Eve of Mississippi Funeral

Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP

A funeral is set for Saturday at a Baptist church in the King's hometown of Indianola, Mississippi.

INDIANOLA, Miss. (AP) — Blues guitarist Buddy Guy says he always intended to tour the B.B. King Museum while its namesake, his longtime friend, was still living.

The 78-year-old Guy was among more than 4,000 people who filed past King's open casket at the museum Friday, the eve of the blues legend's funeral in the Mississippi Delta.

"His left hand was a special effect," Guy said, describing King's talent for bending strings to make the guitar sing.

"These young people playing, you punch a button and you get a vibration," Guy said. "He didn't need that. He invented that."

King was 89 when he died May 14 at his home in Las Vegas. A public viewing and invitation-only memorial service were held in that city before his body was flown to Memphis, Tennessee, for a tribute Wednesday.

A funeral is set for Saturday at a Baptist church in the King's hometown of Indianola, Mississippi. He is scheduled to be buried during a private service at B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center.

King's public viewing Friday was almost like a state funeral, with Mississippi Highway Patrol officers in dress uniform standing at each end of the casket. Two of his black electric guitars — each named Lucille — stood among sprays of flowers.

Music fans Stuart and Anita Caven of Edinburgh, Scotland, had already planned their vacation in the United States before King died. After visiting New Orleans, they drove to Indianola and stood among the throngs outside the museum as King's casket was rolled out to a hearse after the public viewing.

"We have a deep respect for what came from the blues," Stuart Caven said.

 

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