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Guitar pioneer Lonnie Mack dies at 74

lonnie mack
Lonnie Mack in the 1980s (Image credit: Getty)

Blues-rock pioneer Lonnie Mack has died at the age of 74, his record label have confirmed.

Active from 1963 until the early 2000s, he’s credited with helping define the position of electric guitar in contemporary music, and acting as a leading light in the development of guitar solos.

Indiana-born Lonnie McIntosh came to attention with his 1963 instrumental singles Memphis and Wham!, influencing musicians including Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan – who once called him “the baddest guitar player I know.”

He collaborated with Vaughan, Beck, Keith Richards, Duane Allman and many others, and won several career awards during his lifetime, including induction into the International Guitar Hall Of Fame in 2001. His 1958 Gibson Flying V was named as one of the world’s most elite guitars in 2011.

Lonnie Mack with Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1986

Lonnie Mack with Stevie Ray Vaughan in 1986 (Image credit: Getty)

Alligator Records – who released his 11th and final album Attack Of The Killer V in 1990 – say: “Groundbreaking guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes, died on April 21, 2016 of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee.

“Drawing from influences as diverse as rhythm and blues, country, gospel and rockabilly, Mack’s guitar work continues to be revered by generation after generation of musicians.

“He is survived by five children and multitudes of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”

Although he’d retired around a decade ago, he continues to record and he’d been known to make guest appearances in venues near his home.