VIDEO: Kenilworth schoolboy guitarist realises dream

Toby Lee outside the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis
Toby Lee outside the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis

A guitar-playing schoolboy has fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing at the B.B King Blues Club in Memphis, Tennessee, named after the late blues guitarist who died last May.

Toby Lee, 10, who attends Crackley Hall School in Kenilworth, was invited to play at the club after a video of him playing a B.B King song after the singer fell ill went viral online.

He said: “I felt honoured to play there because B.B King was my hero before he died.

“The crowd really enjoyed it - the cleaner and bartender started throwing their tips at me, and then everyone started throwing money at me. Altogether I got $66 and I was allowed to keep it.

“Everyone was cheering my name and lots of people wanted selfies and signatures afterwards.

An extract of Toby’s performance with the B.B King club band was lauded online, with one Facebook commenter saying he would be welcome back in Memphis any time, and another saying that King would have been proud of his performance.

Toby on the set of TFI Friday with presenter Chris Evans

Toby on the set of TFI Friday with presenter Chris Evans

And Toby has had further success since his Memphis performance, appearing on Chris Evans’ show T.F.I Friday on Channel Four.

He played the Led Zeppelin song ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in the section ‘Too Good not to be on TV’ after just half an hour of practice as the producers could not get the copyright for the AC/DC song he was originally going to play in time.

Toby said: “Going on TFI Friday was great. Chris Evans was really, really kind and it was a very nice environment to be in.

Toby built a large following on social media after he shot to fame in April when he posted a video of himself playing the B.B King song ‘The Thrill is Gone’ as a get-well message to King, who was suffering from complications relating to Alzheimer’s disease at the time.

I felt honoured to play at the club because B.B King was my hero before he died.

Toby Lee

The video was seen by another blues guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, who shared it online and helped the video amass over 5.7 million views.

He said at the time: “I put up a tribute for B.B. King because at that moment he was my favourite guitarist.

“Joe Bonamassa helped. He’s also one of my favourite guitarists and he’s really, really good - I nearly fell down the stairs when I found out he shared it because I was so shocked.”

Despite his new-found fame, Toby still has to find time to concentrate on his studies, and says he has less time to practice because of all the homework he gets set.

When asked if he will continue playing his guitar in the future, Toby said: “Yes, but my mum says that if I change my mind it’s alright.”