Thursday, July 17, 2014

Johnny Winter 1944-2014

Blues-rock guitarist/singer Johnny Winter, who had been on tour in Europe, has died in a hotel room near Zurich, Switzerland.  He had performed in Wiesen, Austria just four days earlier. There is no word yet on the cause of death.

John Dawson Winter III was born in Mississippi, but raised Beaumont, Texas along with his younger brother Edgar, himself a highly successful musician.  Johnny Winter debuted as a solo artist in 1969 and continued as such for most of his career, but also formed a band called Johnny Winter And during the early 1970's, which included guitarist/singer Rick Derringer, drummer Randy Zehringer (known as Randy Z) and bassist Randy Jo Hobbs, all of whom had been in the pop-rock group The McCoys. (Derringer and Zehringer are brothers, Zehringer being their real last name.)  Winter grew up idolizing legendary blues guitarist Muddy Waters, and later performed with him.  In turn, he inspired other white blues guitarists such as the late Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Of course, no tribute to Johnny Winter would be complete without some of his music.  Here's his version of the Rolling Stones' Jumpin' Jack Flash, with Floyd Rayford on guitar, Randy Jo Hobbs on bass and backing vocals, and Bobby Caldwell on drums.

Johnny Winter And recorded the song Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo, written by Rick Derringer, who would record his own version a few years later.

Plug in your earphones and turn it up!

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