Remembering Johnny Winter

Today at Epiphone we're celebrating the birthday of Johnny Winter, one of the premier blues guitarists and producers of his generation. Born in Beumont, Texas on February 23, 1944, Johnny Winter and brother Edgar played together on local television and talent contests as kids and Winter formed his first solo band at the age of 15. Johnny's big break came thanks to friend and admirer Mike Bloomfield, who invited Winter to jam at a Bloomfield and Al Kooper concert at the Fillmore East in the late 60s. Columbia Records saw him there and offered him one of the biggest advances yet seen in the recording industry, $600,000.

Winter quickly gained a reputation for his cutting tone, spitfire fretwork, and passionate voice, which stood out in an era of psychedelic excess and big-budget concept albums. Winter’s work with hero Muddy Waters in the mid-70s earned three GRAMMYs and were Waters’ best sessions since his days at Chess.

Winter battled health problems throughout his life but was a tireless performer and enthusiast for the blues. His work can be heard over many labels including his own brief imprint, Blue Sky. And though he was a terrific producer and knew how to get great sounds in the studio, the stage was where Winter shined. The Johnny Winter Collection is a must-have and includes early classics as well as unreleased gems from Winter's breakthrough appearance at the Atlanta Pop Festival in 1970. Everybody loved Johnny Winter: Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, B.B. King, Freddie King, Carlos Santana, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and of course, all of us at the House of Stathopoulo.  Winter was a true believer, a bluesman of the highest caliber, and you can hardly say anything better about a musician. Thanks, Johnny.