The history and impact of B.B. King's 'Rock Me Baby'

B.B. King had another great song with 'Rock Me Baby,' and a key to its greatness is that it's a laidback and straightforward composition.

B.B. King live in Las Vegas
B.B. King live in Las Vegas / Scott Harrison/GettyImages

"Rock Me Baby" is a classic blues song that has been performed by various artists over the years.
The song is often associated with the blues genre and has become a standard in the genre, much like Robert Johnson's "Crossroads." It was originally written by blues guitarist and singer B.B. King and released in 1964 as a single. Unlike B.B. King's standard rendition of songs like "The Thrill Is Gone," the song "Rock Me Baby" has a considerably more laid-back and more cheerful sound
, with a slow and sultry blues groove and lyrics that express longing and desire.

The song's memorable guitar riffs and King's emotive vocal delivery have made it a favorite among blues enthusiasts and a staple in his live performances. Over the years, "Rock Me Baby" has become a timeless classic in the blues canon and continues to be celebrated and appreciated by music lovers around the world. The song's enduring popularity is a testament to B.B. King's influence on the blues genre and his contribution to the world of music.

History and contemporary versions of 'Rock Me Baby' by B.B. King

"Rock Me Baby" has many iterations, and some live performances by B.B. King and guests can be found on Youtube. Among the best is a video featuring Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. King was such a swell guy that, he let them take some of the spotlight and complimented Trucks' slide-playing by telling Susan "I see why you married him" and, after Trucks played a decent line, King said "I wish I could do that." King was a fan of diverse musical forms, with jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt apparently being a substantial influence (despite King not really playing in that style).

King's guitar playing is among the best in the blues, and his singing was above-average as well. In fact, AllMusic may have even praised King too hard, calling him "the single most important electric guitarist of the last half of the 20th century." As we have noted previously, there's a solid argument to be made that Muddy Waters (who recorded his own version of the song in question) did more to bring an electric sound to the blues. Still, one could hardly get upset over someone praising B.B. King for his influence and talent.

Technically, like so many songs, "Rock Me Baby" does not entirely, 100% belong to one artist. The song has historical roots that go back to "Rockin' and Rollin'" by Melvin "Lil' Son" Jackson, recorded in 1951. In fact, some would suggest it goes back even further. Of course, there were similarly titled songs that hinted at "rockin'," "rollin'," or "rockin' and rollin'," such as the Ray Charles song, "Roll with Me Baby." Obviously, it's a different song overall, but the point is simply that songs with "rock me" or "rock and roll" in the title would have Wikipedia's disambiguation page working overtime, for sure.

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