Of all of the sad news to receive this morning…
Johnny Winter, my first real guitar hero, the one that I held the standard of everyone else to, has passed away.
Honestly, there is much to say. so much so, that to recount it here would take so many lines to write that I might not sleep for days. But, it is necessary to know that few played as well as he could. Oh yes, there are some in his company of skill…but not many.
I saw Johnny Winter at several crucial periods of his career. One time at ChicagoFest, and another at The Galaxy Theater in Costa Mesa. It was that Costa Mesa show that I took my two kids to see a legend in play, even if he had to be helped to the chair that he played on. It may be one of my greatest gifts to them, to give them the chance to see a legend before he was gone to us. And now that reality is in play.
From his first Columbia album, to the brilliance of Second Winter, his many live albums, and his deeply ingrained blues albums, Johnny winter continually set the standard high for music. What more can be said except that “…he used to carry his guitar in a gunney sack”, and “oh my, how that country boy could play…”.
One year, there was a family reunion that I wasn’t keen on flying to from California. Knowing how much I loved Johnny Winter, Mrs TAP used the ploy that Johnny would be in attendance as he was a member of the family somewhere in the line. I was quite skeptical as I should have been, but her insistence eventually won my trust. Of course, she was wrong (and my intuition was right), but she got me there.
Johnny, you were a hero from the start. And your music will live on in its history.
Thanks for every note you played!
John Dawson Winter III