On December 22, 2020, Leslie Weinstein aka Leslie West died aged 75. He was musician (guitar), vocalist, and songwriter, member of the bands The Vagrants, West, Bruce and Laing, but was best known as the founding member, guitarist, and co-lead vocalist of the band Mountain. In its list of the “100 Greatest guitarists of all time”, Rolling Stone magazine placed West at number 66. As a leader he released 16 albums.
On November 29, 2001, George Harrison died aged 58. He was musician (guitar), singer, songwriter, and music and movie producer, lead guitarist and occasional lead vocalist of The Beatles. His interest in folk music and especially in Indian music had serious influence on the band’s Hindu-aligned spirituality in the later years. Some of his songs composed for the band include “Here Comes the Sun”, “Something”, “Taxman”, “Within You Without You”, and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. After The Beatles broke-up in 1970, Harrison released the album “All Things Must Pass” which included the track “My Sweet Lord”, his most successful single, and the first solo single by any member of The Beatles that sold over million copies. In 1971, together with Ravi Shankar he organized “Concert for Bangladesh”, the first big benefit concert in the music history. In 1974, Harrison founded the music label “Dark Horse Records”, and co-founded movie label “Hand Made Films” in 1978. In 1988, with Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, and Roy Orbison, he co-founded the supergroup The Travelling Wilburys. As a guitarist he recorded for Badfinger, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Duane Eddy, Randy Newman, Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Wood, and Tom Petty. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Harrison at number 11 in their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. In 1988, as a member of The Beatles he was inducted in the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, and in 2004, posthumously for his solo career. As a solo artist, Harrison released twelve studio and two live albums.
On November 5, 2005, Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr. died aged 76. He was songwriter singer, and musician (guitar, steel guitar, bass guitar), known for his rock and roll, and rockabilly musical style. Magazine “Rolling Stone” ranked him at number 45 on its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. Wray released 23 albums as a leader.
On June 28, 2016, Winfield Scott “Scotty” Moore III died aged 84. He was a musician (guitar) and recording engineer, performed with Starlight Wranglers, Ricky Nelson, and Roy Orbison, but was best known as a founding member of The Blue Moon Boys in 1954, Elvis Presley’s backing band, and as studio and touring guitarist for Presley between 1954 and 1968. In its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked Moore at number 29. In the year 2000, he was inducted into the “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame”, in 2007 in the “Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum”, and in 2015, in the “Memphis Music Hall of Fame”.
On January 6, 2009, Ronald Franklin Asheton died aged 60. Being guitarist, bassist, actor and songwriter, he was best known as founding member (together with Iggy Pop, his brother Scott Asheton and Dave Alexander) and guitarist of The Stooges. In 2014, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked him at number 60 on its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
On September 15, 2004, John William Cummings aka Johnny Ramone, died aged 55. Being guitarist and songwriter, he was best known as founding member and guitarist of the Ramones. In 2003, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked him at number 16 on its list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”. The same year, “Time” magazine ranked him on its list of the “10 Greatest Electric-Guitar Players”.
On August 16, 1938, Robert Leroy Johnson, died aged 27. Being blues singer-songwriter and musician, he performed mostly in the streets, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, so his career and life were very poorly documented. Only after the reissue of his recordings on the 1961 album “King of the Delta blues singers”, wider audience got a chance to know his exceptional songwriting, singing and guitar playing talent. Today he is recognized as the “Master of the blues”, with huge number of followers and admirers of his work among the world famous musicians. Eric Clapton has called Johnson “The most important blues singer that ever lived”. Johnson was ranked fifth position in the “Rolling Stone” magazine list of “100 greatest guitarists of all time”.
On July 16, 2014, John Dawson Winter III aka Johnny Winter, died aged 60. Being guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, and producer, Winter was best known for his unique guitar style and explosive live performances. Winter was producer of three Muddy Waters “Grammy Award” winning albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the “Blues Foundation Hall of Fame” and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in “Rolling Stone” magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
On March 19, 1975, Paul Francis Kossoff died aged 25. Guitarist and songwriter he was member of Black Cat Bones, Back Street Crawler and Kossoff /Kirke /Tetsu/ Rabbit but he is best known as member of Free.Kossoff is ranked 51st in “Rolling Stone” magazine list of the “100 greatest guitarists of all time”.