To celebrate what would’ve been the legendary guitarist and blues impresario’s 94th birthday, Google has animated a Google Doodle in honor of the life and music of B.B. King.
On Monday (Sept. 16), the search engine will replace its logo with a musical tribute to King, who died in 2015 at the age of 89. “The Thrill Is Gone” remains an American blues classic and one of the most beloved tunes from King’s catalog, and it soundtracks artist Steve Spencer’s rendering of King. Google worked with Spencer to create a special, one-of-a-kind animation inspired not only by King and his work, but by Memphis, Tenn., the city in which he honed his craft and built his following.
“I hope that when people watch this Doodle that they feel a sense of connection,” says Angelica McKinley, an art director on the Google Doodle team, in Google’s Behind the Doodle clip. The brief video features additional art from Spencer, along with archival footage of King’s performances and glimpses of Memphis. “We all have had instances of being blue or have had to go through difficult times. That’s what connects us.”
“I hope that people watch this Google Doodle and feel like they’ve been on an emotional journey with B.B. — that they’ve climbed in his shoes a little bit, that they’ve seen that he didn’t start at the top,” says Spencer. “He worked his way and found his own unique voice. Maybe they can do that, too. Maybe it’s the same kind of journey they’re on. Maybe it’s the journey we’re all on.”
Watch the process that went into creating this B.B. King Google Doodle below.