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!