Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blues legend Johnny Winter dead at 70

Texas blues legend Johnny Winter has died at the age of 70.

Winter passed away on July 16 in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland while on tour in Europe.

“His wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of their loved one and one of the world's finest guitarists,” read the statement posted on Winter’s Facebook page. “An official statement with more details shall be issued at the appropriate time.”

Known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and '70s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues legend Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums.

Born in Beaumont, Texas in 1944, Winter’s recording career began at the age of 15 when his band Johnny and the Jammers released "School Day Blues" on a Houston record label.

In 1968, Winter released his debut album, “The Progressive Blues Eexperiment”, before catching the attention of Columbia Records when he jammed with Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper during a show at the Fillmore East in New York in December of 1968.

He recorded and released his self-titled, major label debut in 1969.

Winter battled heroin addiction in the early 1970s before resuming his recording career with the release of 1973’s “Still Alive & Well.”

The bluesman would go on to release 18 studio albums during his lifetime in addition to several live projects.

In 1988, Winter was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame.