On September 13, 2015, Gary Dean Richrath died aged 65. He was musician (guitar, slide guitar), singer, songwriter and producer, member of the band Suburban 9 to 5, but was best known as the lead guitarist and songwriter of REO Speedwagon (1970 – 1989). As leader, Richrath released one album.
On February 18, 1995, Robert Neil Stinson died aged 35. He was musician (guitar), member of the bands Model Prisoner, Static Taxi and The Bleeding Hearts, but was best known as the founding member and lead guitarist of The Replacements.
On December 18, 1983, Jimmy Nolen died aged 49. He was musician (guitar), known for his distinctive “chicken scratch” guitar playing style. Nolan was member of the Jimmy Wilson band, Johnny Otis band, George “Harmonica” Smith backing band, in 1959 he formed his own band The Jimmy Nolan Band, but was best known as the lead guitarist in James Brown band form 1965 until his dead. In its survey of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” magazine “Mojo” ranks Nolen at number twelve.
On December 13, 2002, Zalman Yanovsky died aged 57. He was musician (guitar) and singer, member of the bands The Mugwumps, and The Halifax Three, but was best known as the lead guitarist of The Lovin’ Spoonful. In 1996 Yanovsky was inducted in the “Canadian Music Hall of Fame”.
On December 5, 1993, Douglas Owen Hopkins died aged 32. He was musician (guitar, bass guitar), and songwriter, member of the The Chimeras, but was best known as the lead guitarist and songwriter of Gin Blossoms.
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 May 2, 1998, Hideto Matsumoto aka hide, died aged 33. He was singer-songwriter, musician (guitar) and record producer. He was the lead guitarist of the rock band X Japan, founding member of the band Zilch, and had a successful solo career. X Japan rose to prominence in the late 80s and early 90s, credited as founders of the Japanese visual kei movement. Hide was seen as an icon of the Japanese youth rebelling against the country’s conformist society, and his death was labeled “the end of an era”. More than 70,000 people attended his funeral on May 7th, with security of 100 police officers, 170 security guards, police boats and helicopters. 21 people were hospitalised for injuries caused by the massive crowd at the funeral.