Obit: Lonnie Mack (1941-2016)

lonniemackAgain the cosmic forces have struck the pop music world with the passing of guitar great Lonnie Mack.

To the casual listener, Mack might only be known for his iconic instrumental rendition of Chuck Berry’s Memphis in 1963.

But, the blues player who favored a Gibson Flying V axe fitted with a Bigsby whammy bar played sessions and influenced a generation of players including Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Jeff Beck, and Bootsy Collins, among others, who all noted Mack’s style and attack were pivotal learnings in their own relative development as guitar gods.

Mack also collaborated, recording with Janis Joplin in a duet of George Jones’ Things Have Gone to Pieces, that featured Jerry Garcia on lap steel and Jimi Hendrix on guitar. Mack, who was the Elektra records guitar guru during the 60’s and 70’s also played bass on the first two Doors albums, in addition to his own recordings and performing over the decades.

Lesser known perhaps than his admirers, Mack was considered a “guitarist’s guitarist” and a pioneer within the music industry for his single string phrases accented by the infamous Bigsby.

Ciao Lonnie. Let’s leave you with the killer.


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