Johnny Winter Passes Away

Blues legend dead at 70.

Ultimate Guitar

Blues legend Johnny Winter has died, according to American Blues Scene (via Consequence of Sound). He was 70 years old.

The news was also reported by the wife of Winter's longtime bandmate, Rick Derringer.

Born in Beaumont, Texas in 1944, Winter remained active in music for over five decades, earning acclaim as both a guitarist and record producer. His big break came while opening a show for Mike Bloomfield in 1968. Winter's performance that evening caught the eye of Columbia Records, who quickly signed him to a contract. He was given a $600, 000 advance, the largest one ever received at that time.

In the years that followed, Winter would release nearly 20 albums. He was praised for his high-energy performances and elaborate chops, leading to seven Grammy nominations and a nod as the 63rd best guitarist ever by Rolling Stone.

In addition to his solo work, Winter produced three Muddy Waters albums - 1977's "Hard Again," 1978's "I'm Ready," and 1981's "King Bee" - as well as 1979's "Muddy "Mississippi" Waters - Live." Winter's efforts as a producer earned him three Grammy Awards.

Winter is known for being an original performer at Woodstock '69. He's also brother of fellow music legend Edgar Winter.

Winter remained active up until his death. Not only did he have an a number of upcoming tour dates scheduled, but he was set to release a new album entitled Step Back on September 2nd.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Awful, awful news. One of the most underrated blues guitarists ever. Rest in peace, man.
    Great loss to the blues world he was an amazing slide player! (I wouldnt call him underrated though)
    Maybe it's just a matter of perspective, but I think he never got the praise he deserved outside the blues world, considering what a beast of a player he was. I get your point though, among blues fans, he was definitely a legend, as pointed above by davecoleman54.
    Not underrated among blues fans at least! He was pretty much royalty in the genre and his is truly a sad loss
    In the early 80s I used to see him play The Strand Cinema and Pub in Marietta GA. I will never forget his high energy and signature YEAH. Saw him about a year ago and the energy was gone but the music was the same. He will me missed.
    Sad news, his first three albums were total benchmark releases not just for the blues but for guitar playing in general
    Sad day for music, he was one of the first blues guitarists I got into when I started playing guitar.