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Allan Holdsworth Dead At 70

AH
(Image credit: Glen Laferman)

Allan Holdsworth, the groundbreaking British guitarist, has died unexpectedly, aged 70.

The news was broken by his daughter’s Louise on her Facebook page earlier this evening. In a short statement she said: “It is with heavy hearts that we notify everyone of the passing of our beloved father. We would appreciate privacy and time while we grieve the loss of our dad, grandad, friend and musical genius. We will update close friends and family when service arrangements have been made and will notify the public of an open memorial service, which all would be welcome. We are undeniably still in shock with his unexpected death and cannot begin to put into words the overwhelming sadness we are experiencing. He is missed tremendously. Louise, Sam, Emily & Rori.”

Holdsworth rose to prominence with the prog band ‘Igginbottom, who released their sole album, ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench in 1969. After stints with early prog bands Nucleus and Tempest he later would work with Soft Machine, Tony Williams’ Lifetime, Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty and Bill Bruford. He was an original member of the prog band U.K. alongside Bruford, John Wetton and Eddie Jobson, but left following their 1978 debut album.

Although Velvet Darkness was released in 1976, Holdsworth did not recognise it as an official release, so 1982’s I.O.U. was what he viewed as his debut solo outing. His solo work has recently been the subject of a box set, The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever, and a compilation CD Eidolon: The Allan Holdsworth Collection, both released on manifesto Records. As a guitarist he was cited by the likes of Eddie Van Hlaen, Joe Satriani, Alex Lifeson and John Petrucci as a major influence, while Mahavishnu Orchestra guitarist John McLaughlin once said of him: “I’d steal everything Allan was doing, if only I could figure out what the heck it was that he was doing.”

Holdsworth was working on a new solo album at the time of his death.

Jerry Ewing
Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock, as well as sleevenotes for many major record labels. He lives in North London and happily indulges a passion for AC/DC, Chelsea Football Club and Sydney Roosters.