It’s fitting that one of the most recognizable musical instruments in the world is named for the subject of a fight so big it burned down a nightclub. One night in the mid-1950s, the relatively young “Beale Street Blues Boy” (later known as B.B. King) was doing a show at the Arkansas club Twist when two men began trading blows over a woman named Lucille, upsetting a kerosene stove in the process. After evacuating the inferno, King went back in to retrieve his $30 acoustic guitar. King and a better guitar, a version of Lucille he had custom-made, have played 15,000 shows in the last 50 years, during which time King has written genre-crossing hits like “Thrill Is Gone” and “Every Day I Have the Blues,” and developed a knack for bringing home hardware—he just won his 15th Grammy for his most recent studio album, One Kind Favor. In the liner notes for his 1968 album Lucille, King states his guidance has come from the guitar herself: “Lucille don’t want to play anything but the blues. Lucille is real, when I play her it’s almost like hearing words, and of course, naturally I hear cries.”
B.B. KING PERFORMS AT 8 P.m, WITH BUDDY GUY AT DAR CONSTITUTION HALL, 1776 D ST. NW. $65–$70. (202) 628-1776.