Blues Guitarist Johnny Winter Passes Away at 70
Blues guitarist, singer and producer Johnny Winter passed away at the age of 70 on July 16, 2014.
He was an active bluesman up to the time of his death, and was busy with his European tour after releasing a 4-CD box set and finishing a documentary that features his music. There is even a US tour scheduled for August of this year in support for his upcoming album which is scheduled for release on September.
Sadly, Johnny Winter will not make it to his planned US tour. The blues icon was found dead in his hotel room just two days after playing at the Cahors Blues Festival as part of his European tour. This event has now become the white bluesman's last earthly performance.
Johnny Winter, born February 23, 1944 in Beaumont, Texas, started recording at an early age of fifteen. His biggest break happened in December of 1968 when he was invited to sing and play at a Mike Bloomfield concert. Columbia Records representatives were impressed as he covered B.B. King's "It's My Own Fault", and ended up signing Winter within a few days with a big advance of $600,000 - considered to be among the largest in the recording industry.
The name Winter contrasts the man's fiery guitar playing and piercing vocals. But it does fit his distinct appearance, being thin, tall and white because of his albinism.
Winter went on to release multiple blues oriented albums and took his place as one of the most popular guitar players of the late '60s and '70s. As a guitar player, he had multiple Grammy-nominated blues albums, and was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2003. Rolling Stone also recognized his talent, ranking him at #63 on their 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Aside from performing, he also produced three Grammy award winning albums for another blues singer and guitar player, Muddy Waters.
Lori Haynes, the spokeswoman for the artist and his family said, "His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world's finest guitarists".
At the time of this writing, the official cause of death is not yet announced, and Winter's family, friends and his fans are waiting for the result of the investigation.
Johnny Winter leaves this world with a final musical statement, in the form of an album called Step Back, scheduled for release on September 2, 2014.
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