Personalities | Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

(Guitar, piano, vocals, 1935–96)

The self-proclaimed ‘Gangster Of Love’, Watson learned piano from his father in Houston, Texas but became known for his terse, stinging guitar, which influenced Frank Zappa and has been sampled by rappers. Etta James patterned her early singing after Watson’s declarative vocals, best immortalized along with his wicked instrumental prowess on King and Federal singles from 1953 to 1963, including ‘Motorhead Baby’ and ‘Space Guitar’. He suffered a fatal heart attack onstage in Japan.

Styles & Forms | Sixties | Jazz & Blues
Personalities | Junior Wells | Sixties | Jazz & Blues

Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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