Johnny Winter

Happy Birthday

John Dawson Winter III
February 23, 1944
Beaumont, Texas

Johnny Winter is remembered as a kick ass blues rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter.

Born in Texas, Johnny and his younger brother Edgar were child prodigys, picking up and mastering many instruments. Johnny and his brother, both of whom were born with albinism, began performing at an early age. When he was ten years old, the brothers appeared on a local children's show with Johnny playing ukulele, and Edgar on Flugelhorn.

In 1962, while only 17 years old, Winter was beginning to make a name for himself around the Texas and Louisiana blues scene. One night, he and his brother Edgar went down to a club in Beaumont, Texas to catch B.B. King. After a bit of cajoling, the bluesman allowed Winter to come on stage to show off what he could do. “He didn't know if I could play or not and I showed him,” Winter recalled. “I got a standing ovation for it. It was the first time I had ever played the blues in front of a black audience. I, my brother and Bryant Gumbel were the only whites in the audience.”

Winter caught his biggest break in December 1968, when Mike Bloomfield invited him to jam at The Fillmore East. Columbia Records executives were in the audience and were blown away by Winter's performance. In the men's room after the show, Johnny was signed to what was reportedly the largest advance in the history of the recording industry at that time—$600,000, far surpassing Led Zeppelin who received $200,000 the previous year. 
Winter's first Columbia album, "Johnny Winter", was recorded and released in 1969. It was an amazing debut album and Winter's guitar playing and singing blew everyone away. Pure unadulterated Texas Blues at it's best! Johnny's version of B.B. King's "Be Careful with a Fool", is considered by many to be the greatest blues song ever recorded. The soloing on that song is sick, blistering and never ending.

1969 was a banner year for Winter, as he was the darling of the music world. Johnny played Woodstock (along with Edgar), toured extensively and recorded his follow up album "Second Winter".  The two-record album, which only had three recorded sides (the fourth was blank), introduced a couple more staples of Winter's concerts, including Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited". Also at this time Johnny entered into an intimate, albeit short-lived affair with Janis Joplin, which culminated in a concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, where Johnny joined her on stage to sing and perform.   They ended up smooching and singing a duet on "I Got You Babe". 

Album after album, song after song, Johnny was one of the biggest stars in the world and filled stadiums wherever he went. "Rock n Roll Hoochie Koo", "Still Alive and Well", and his amazing covers of Dylan and Stones songs topped the charts, but nothing was as mesmerizing as seeing Johnny Live in concert. 

Johnny was an incredible and influential bluesman, guitarist and musician. Some consider Johnny to be the best slide guitarist of all time. Johnny continued playing and recording until his death. Johnny died on July 16, 2014. 

Remembering Johnny on his birthday! Thank You for the music Sir! It was an honor and pleasure to share the Earth with you. We Love and Miss You!

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