Johnny Winter, a great blues guitarist.
Johnny Winter – SUZIE Q (Live at Rockpalast)
John Dawson ‘Johnny’ Winter (Beaumont, United States, February 23, 1944 – Zurich, Switzerland, July 16, 2014) was an American blues and rock guitarist. Winter became an electric blues star in the late 1960s, and by the time of the Woodstock festival he was already a legend. During the last stage of Muddy Waters, he produced his last three albums.
He was born albino, as was his younger brother, Edgar Winter. From a very young age, Winter displayed a strong attraction to music. From the ages of four to eight, he played the clarinet in his hometown, but was forced to give it up on the recommendation of his orthodontist due to a malocclusion problem caused by the instrument.
It was then that he began to learn to play the ukulele from his father but, despite the talent he showed with the instrument, it was his own father who induced him to give it up and switch to the guitar at the age of 11.
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In that time, Johnny Winter then became fond of a radio show called The Big Bopper of Chantilly Lace, which gave a tour of the world of blues, hosted by a local DJ named J. P. Richardson.
At the age of 14, already soaked in the blues with a long collection of records that he had been putting together, he formed Johnny and the Jammers, his first band, along with his brother Edgar’s.
He spent his early youth recording songs for regional record labels and appearing in bars seeking to be heard and obtain a reputation within the world of blues, due to his regular collaboration with locals such as Clarence Garlow or Calvin Johnson.4 He came to play, in 1962, before B.B. King, with King’s guitar, on a visit to a famous Beaumont venue.
During this time he formed a trio, The Cyrstaliers and It and Them, which tried to gain a foothold in local clubs, and also visited other satellite cities of blues like Chicago, trying to listen to other artists and capture the essence of the genre.
His national discovery came through an article in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1968, which earned him a contract with a New York club owner and a recording with Columbia.
His official debut album, Johnny Winter, was released in 1969, the year in which he also played at various shows and festivals, including Woodstock.
Later, he formed a band with former members of The McCoys, called Johnny Winter And. He achieved good sales between 1969 and 1970 with the albums Second Winter and Johnny Winter, respectively.
During this time, Winter suffered a severe heroin addiction, from which he quickly recovered, and recorded 1973’s Still Alive and Well. His records were increasingly oriented towards hard blues, and in the late 1970s he also produced several albums by Muddy Waters, with whom he won a couple of Grammy Awards, among other collaborations.
In the eighties, after a long hiatus, he recorded three albums for the blues label Alligator. The first, in 1984, contained re-releases of old R&B songs and had the help of fellow label Albert Collins Icebreakers Band, earning their second Grammy nomination.
In 1986, he released Third Degree, a shared album with former tour mates. He alternately maintains his usual tours of different venues, offering concerts and collaborating with other artists.
It marks his return to the studios with a new Grammy nomination thanks to his album Let Me In. He returns the following year with Hey, Where’s Your Brother?, also a Grammy nominee.
That same year, the Scorchin ‘Blues compilation also went on sale while he continued on tour. He would also collaborate in 1996 with his brother on the album The Real Deal, while maintaining his tours. In 1998, as a result of his live work, Live In NYC ’97 was released, a record that compiled five years of concert. The songs on this album were chosen by his followers as a tribute, 3 years in which it was also the 30th anniversary of his arrival to stardom.
Winter returned in 2004 with her first album in eight years, I’m a Bluesman, for which he again earned rave reviews and another Grammy nomination. Winter continues to amaze his followers with his peculiar style, maintaining his tours, although in recent years he has been affected by health problems and is forced to make presentations sitting down, due to a problem with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well as problems with his hip. Even so, he maintains his artistic career.
In May 2009, he released a new compilation called The Johnny Winter Anthology distributed by Sony Music Entertainment.
During his summer tour in Europe, on July 16, 2014, he transcended his unforeseen death. Apparently, he died in a hotel near Zurich6, Switzerland, at dawn. Although his portal did not report it, the European press anticipated the news.7 Rick Derringer’s wife, Jenda, was one of the first people close to the artist to confirm his death