A bus ride with B.B. King

During a late-night bus ride, Ed Bradley and the legendary blues man pass the time with conversation about life, death, and, of course, the blues

Below is a special guest blog post about B.B. King by former CBS News' Roberta Oster Sachs, who produced the 1993 story excerpted in the above video player:

As a young producer joining "Street Stories with Ed Bradley," I pitched a profile story about the "King of the Blues," B.B. King. When Bradley agreed to be the reporter, I knew some kind of magic was headed our way. The raw and edgy program was Bradley's signature show, and following B.B. King was the ultimate street story: a 67-year-old who was touring on the road more than 325 days a year.

Our cameras followed King and his band on tour in Florida in 1992 -- checking in and out of hotels and eating in road-side diners. We shot footage on King's customized bus, his home on wheels, which had a hand-painted picture of his beloved guitar "Lucille" on the outside.

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B.B. King

King allowed our cameras to follow him to a special concert at a Florida prison. Most people never knew that King had been giving free concerts in prisons since 1971, when he co-founded a non-profit supporting prisoners' rights and education. The mostly African-American crowd went wild when he sang, "Chains of Love." King pointed out a woman in the audience to our cameraman, "That's my daughter, Patty King. She is in here for drug trafficking. I've never had a child in trouble with the law before, but my heart, my Patty, she is here."

The steamy Florida heat had turned to vapor. On the bus ride from the prison to the evening's concert in Jacksonville, we filmed the only one-on-one interview with King and Bradley. King talked about his childhood in Indianola, Mississippi. He was 4 when his father left, and 9 when his mother died. He wound up living alone in a shack, picking cotton on a plantation.

"I saw lynching," he said. "I saw men dragged through the streets." It was a scary place for a young, parentless black boy, and blues music gave voice to those fears.

King's mother called the blues "devil's music," but for King, it was salvation. His mother had taken him to church on Sundays, where he sang gospel music, and later started a vocal quartet. At 16, he hitched a ride up Route 66 to Beale Street in Memphis.

Young Riley B. King worked as a tractor driver and a radio disc jockey. They called him the "Beale Street Blues Boy," and later "Blues Boy King," which was shortened to B.B. King. His first Memphis gig paid $12 a night, and King soon started to make hit records. He told Bradley that through the years he sent money home to support his 15 children, his two ex-wives, and the lovers he'd left behind.

The Bradley-King interview ended, and that evening at a sold-out concert in Jacksonville, King rocked the crowd. I could hear gospel music in the rafters. For the audience, this was church with King as preacher. Thousands of fans called out, "Amen!"

At the end of the concert King used a tambourine to beckon Bradley to join him onstage. Bradley shook the tambourine and King announced, "Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a warm Jacksonville welcome to CBS' 60 Minutes newsman, Mr. Ed Bradley!" The crowd erupted in a standing ovation. It was a mindful moment, frozen in time. Two greats were sharing the stage.

When I saw King perform in Virginia in 2008 we talked backstage about the heartbreaking news of Bradley's death in 2006 at the age of 65. At the time of filming, no one could have imagined that King would outlive the youthful Bradley.

"He was too young to go," King said, shaking his head. "Too young, too smart, too good-- and too good-looking. It's a damn shame, but that's the blues."