Hoosier-born guitarist Lonnie Mack dead at 74 

The pioneering blues guitarist played his first gigs as a youngster in Southern Indiana.

Lonnie Mack in performance with his band in Rising Sun, Indiana in 2003. - PHOTO BY RUSSELL HOUSE // WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Lonnie Mack in performance with his band in Rising Sun, Indiana in 2003.
  • Photo by Russell House // Wikimedia Commons
According to Guitar World, and confirmed by reps, Lonnie Mack — who was born in Dearborn County in Southern Indiana — has died. 

Guitarist and vocalist Lonnie Mack, known as one of rock’s first true guitar heroes—and a major influence on Stevie Ray Vaughan—died Thursday, April 21, of natural causes at Centennial Medical Center near his home in Smithville, Tennessee. He was 74.

His early instrumental recordings—including "Wham!" and "Memphis"—influenced many of rock's greatest players, including Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Keith Richards and Jimmy Page.

From his bio: 

Lonnie was born in 1941 in Harrison, Indiana — some forty miles west of Cincinnati. Learning his first cords from his Mother at the ages of 5, Lonnie grew up playing bluegrass, country and gospel with his family and friends and listening to old radio stations which were playing black blues, jazz and gospel. Taking from all these influences he created his own personal style and when Rockabilly emerged to the music scene, Lonnie was already playing it!
Mack began gigging all over Southern Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky after dropping out of school at age 13. Mack returned repeatedly to tour the tri-state area throughout his career.

Mack bought the seventh Gibson Flying V ever made and played that throughout his career. Fun fact: His use of the Flying V on massive hit "Wham" is how the "Whammy bar" got its name. 

Read the rest of his fascinating life story here — including his role as mentor to Stevie Ray Vaughan. 


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Katherine Coplen

Katherine Coplen

Always looking for my new favorite band. Always listening to my old ones, too. Always baking cakes. Always collecting rock and roll dad quotes.

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