Lonnie Mack, guitarist
birth name: Lonnie McIntosh

Lonnie Mack

July 18, 1941, Harrison, IN ~ April 21, 2016, Nashville, TN

Lonnie Mack is a roadhouse blues-rock legend - modern rock's first true guitar hero. His playing has influenced the course of rock and roll and had an impact on many of modern rock's current guitar heroes, including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and especially Stevie Ray Vaughan. His early music bridged the gap between '50s rockabilly and the psychedelic blues-rock of the following decade, and, like the best rock and roll, his work continues to embody a mixture of white and black roots music. Rock, blues, soul and country - Lonnie brings them all together for a sound that has been all his own for nearly forty years. ~ Lonnie Mack: Lonnie Mack ~ retrieved April 23, 2016 © Lonnie Mack

A guitarist and singer whose impassioned, fast-picking style on the early 1960s instrumentals Memphis and Wham! became a model for the blues-rock lead-guitar style and a seminal influence on a long list of British and American artists. ~ New York Times: Lonnie Mack Obituary ~ April 23, 2016 © New York Times

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In 1963, at the end of another artist's session, Lonnie cut an instrumental version of Chuck Berry's Memphis. He didn't even know that Fraternity had issued the single until he heard it on the radio, and within a few weeks Memphis had hit the national Top Five. Lonnie Mack went from being a talented regional roadhouse player to a national star virtually overnight. ~ Alligator Records: Lonnie Mack ~ retrieved April 24, 2016 © Alligator Records

Mack played sessions for record labels in Cincinnati with blues and R&B greats such as James Brown, Hank Ballard and Freddie King. His 1963 instrumental recording of Chuck Berry's Memphis, became a radio hit, and he followed that with Wham! - a tune that inspired the nickname "whammy bar" for the tremolo bar he had on his Gibson Flying V. His style was influenced by country music, like George Jones and Merle Travis, but also blues singers like Bobby Bland. Mack released several albums subsequently that weren't as popular, but his career was re-energized when he and Vaughan co-produced his 1985 album Strike Like Lightning. Guitarists like Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder and Vaughan all joined him on stage during his 1985 tour. ~ Mercury News: Lonnie Mack Obituary ~ April 22, 2016 © Mercury News/AP

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