Cooper hails late friend Wagner

Alice Cooper has released a touching tribute to long-time collaborator Dick Wagner, who died yesterday at the age of 71.

The guitarist, songwriter and bandleader – best-known for writing classic track Only Women Bleed – had been fighting ill-health for several years, but his passing still came as a shock to many who knew him.

Cooper, who worked closely with Wagner on School’s Out and Welcome To My Nightmare, tells Billboard: “Even though we know it’s inevitable, we never expect to suddenly lose close friends and collaborators.

“Dick and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind – he’s irreplaceable. His brand of playing and writing is not seen any more, and there are very few people I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick.”

Crediting Wagner with “a lot of my radio success,” Cooper continues: “Some of my biggest singles were ballads I wrote with Dick. There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing.

“We always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick’s passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, to rock’n’roll and to his family.”

Guitarist Steve Hunter, who worked alongside Wagner with both Cooper and Lou Reed, tweeted last night: “Dick and I were lucky enough to play on some pretty cool records.The stuff we did together back in the 70s was truly magical.”

Among other online tributes were:

**Matt Sorum: **Another guitar legend lost. Your great riffs will go on for ever.

**Paul Stanley: **He burned on Alice, Lou Reed and uncredited on Destroyer and some of our contemporaries. Sad day.

**Damon Johnson: **Absolutely gutted to hear of the passing of the great Dick Wagner. A legend songwriter and guitarist. Honoured to have met him.

**Steve Lukather: **God Bless. You will be missed my old friend.

**Carmine Appice: **Rest in peace, my good buddy. Sympathy to his family.

**Kip Winger: **RIP Dick Wagner, one of the great unsung heroes.

**Kevin Shirley: **Dick Wagner RIP. When we did Sloe Gin with Joe Bonamassa we tried to tap into your cool genius. Bummer!

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Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band, a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.