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Lonnie Mack
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    (July 18, 1941-April 21, 2016)
    Born in West Harrison, Indiana
    Birth name was Lonnie McIntosh
    Guitarist and singer
    Recorded the singles ‘Memphis,’ ‘Wham!’ and ‘Where There’s a Will’ (all 1963)
    Recorded the albums ‘The Wham of That Memphis Man!’ (1964), ‘Glad I’m in the Band’ (1969), ‘The Hills of Indiana’ (1971), ‘Lonnie Mack with Pismo’ (1978), ‘Strike Like Lightning’ (1985), ‘Second Sight’ (1986) and ‘Live! Attack of the Killer V’ (1990)
    Inducted into the International Guitar Hall of Fame (2001)
    He dropped out of school in the 7th grade.
    He used a fake ID to play in bars before he reached the legal drinking age.
    For a while, he and his family lived in a converted school bus.
    He was jailed after getting into an altercation with an off-duty cop who shot him in the leg (1975).
    He dropped out of the music biz for extended periods several times and noted, ‘Seems like every time I get close to really making it, to climbing to the top of the mountain, that’s when I pull out. I just pull up and run.’
    He was called ‘the guitar hero’s guitar hero,’ cited as an influence by players from Eric Clapton and Duane Allman to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bootsy Collins.
    Thanks to his pioneering use of it on ‘Wham!’, the Bigsby tremolo bar would be unofficially dubbed the Whammy bar.
    His soulful vocals on ‘Where There’s A Will’ earned the single plenty of airplay on R&B stations – until they discovered he was white. (When he appeared at a station in Birmingham, Alabama, for a live interview, the deejay told him, ‘Baby, you’re the wrong color’ and immediately cancelled the interview.)
    When he was ill in the early 80s, Stevie Ray Vaughan not only organized a benefit concert to pay his medical bills, Vaughan and his bassist, Tommy Shannon, personally installed an air conditioner in Mack’s home to help with his recovery.
    He was joined onstage by Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Ry Cooder, Albert Collins and Stevie Ray Vaughan during shows on his ‘Strike Like Lightning’ tour.

Credit: C. Fishel

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