Johnny Winter, Blues Musician, Dies At 70
Johnny Winter, the iconic blues guitarist that inspired the likes of John Lennon, died on Wednesday in Switzerland. He was 70.
Johnny Winter Dies
Winter was found dead in his Zurich hotel room Wednesday. He’d been traveling through Europe on a tour. Winter’s family has yet to learn his cause of death, spokesperson Carla Parisi told The New York Times.
"His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world's finest guitarists," spokeswoman Lori Haynes told CNN.
Winter first began playing guitar in clubs at age 15. By 1969, when he was 24, Winter was profiled in Rolling Stone magazine, bringing him into the national spotlight. The article, titled “Johnny Winter, Albino Bluesman,” speculated that he was quickly becoming one of the best in his trade. “If you can imagine a 130-pound, cross-eyed albino with long fleecy hair playing some of the gutsiest, fluid blues guitar you ever heard, then enter Johnny Winter,” read a snippet from the piece.
In the year following the Rolling Stone article, Winter found himself performing at Woodstock, where greats such as Joan Baez, Santana, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone and Jimi Hendrix also performed. Winter also got his first record deal with Columbia records in 1969, and put out a self-titled debut album and a sophomore effort titled Second Winter on the label.
Winter was planning on releasing a new slbum, titled Step Back, in September. The album features a number of guest artists, including Eric Clapton, Joe Perry and Dr. John. Prior to the album release, Winter was meant to make 15 tour stops in the U.S.
Winter ranks 63rd on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.