Personalities | Lenny Kravitz | Retro Rocker & Trendsetter | Guitar Heroes

Producer-performer Lenny Kravitz (b. 1964) has explored multiple genres during his 25-year career as a music star, but has often been thought of as married to retro styles.

Born in New York, Kravitz was raised in Los Angeles. His parents, a television producer and an actress, were well connected in show business. Kravitz decided to pursue rock’n’roll while in high school. Heavily influenced by Prince, Kravitz at first patterned his style and approach directly after Prince and became known as Romeo Blue.

In the late 1980s, Kravitz moved back to New York and began looking to classic rockers for inspiration. Kravitz inked a recording deal and issued his debut release, Let Love Rule (1989). The title track became a hit single and video, and Kravitz gained a reputation as a trendsetter. He began to compose for other artists, writing Madonna’s ‘Justify My Love’.

Kravitz’s work in the 1990s included: Mama Said (1991), which featured the funk rocker ‘Always On The Run’ (a collaboration with Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash) and the soul ballad ‘It Ain’t Over ’Til It’s Over’; 1993’s Are You Gonna Go My Way, which made Kravitz an arena headliner and media star; and 1998’s 5, which included the biggest hit of his career, ‘Fly Away’, and the hit remake of The Guess Who’s ‘American Woman’.

In the twenty-first century, Kravitz continued to record, and branched out with his own design company. He recorded a funky version of John Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey’ for Amnesty International’s 2007 benefit compilation Instant Karma. Kravitz returned in 2008 with It Is Time For A Love Revolution. In 2011, he released the album Black And White America, opened for U2 on a handful of tour dates and was honoured in Paris by being made an Officer of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – a prestigious cultural award.

Kravitz’s first guitar was a Fender Jazzmaster. ‘I’d always wanted a Les Paul’, he said in 2002. ‘And then my dad got me the Jazzmaster, which was cool, but I always wanted a Les Paul. And so I traded it in when I had some money, a couple years later, and got my first Les Paul’. He has also used a Les Paul Goldtop with a Park amplifier, a Flying V that he designed and had built at Gibson, and a Les Paul Custom SG with three pickups, as well as an Epiphone Sorrento.

Essential Recordings

Solo: Mama Said

Solo: Are You Gonna Go My Way

Solo: 5

Solo: Lenny

Personalities | Robby Krieger | Opening Doors | Guitar Heroes


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