JOHNNY WINTER FACTS:
Genre: Blues, Rock
Hometown: Beaumont, Texas
Albums: First Winter (1969); The Progressive Blues Experiment (1968); Johnny Winter (1969); Second Winter (1969); Johnny Winter And (1970); Rock N' Roll (1972); Still Alive and Well (1973); Saints & Sinners (1974); John Dawson Winter III (1974); Together (1976); Nothin' But the Blues (1977); White, Hot and Blue (1978); Raisin' Cain (1980); Guitar Slinger (1984); Serious Business (1985); Third Degree (1986); The Winter of '88 (1988); Let Me In (1991); Hey, Where's Your Brother? (1992); Scorchin' Blues (1992); I'm A Bluesman (2004); The Johnny Winter Anthology (2009)
Awards: Inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame
Hits: "Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo"
Other: Ranked 74th on the Rolling Stone magazine list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
With a heavy dose of southern rock infused with blues, Johnny Winter is certainly one of the most influential rock guitarists of all time. Since he broke onto the scene in the mid 1960s, the Texas native has been a notable presence in the music industry ever since, and despite battling several health conditions, the 66-year-old Winter continues to play to passionate fans.
Winter started his career at a very young age, and at age 15 he and his brother, Edgar Winter, recorded their first song together. Though it was a small beginning, Winter soon was taking in the expertise of blues legends such as B.B. King and Muddy Waters, and by 1967 he was on tour with a local blues band. Encouraged by the experience he was receiving, Winter released his first solo album in 1968 with The Progressive Blues Experiment. While the record was met with mixed reviews from critics, it laid the groundwork for the successful years to come.
Winter's next self-titled album was released in 1969 and was received much more favorably by critics, thanks in large part to the chances he took on tunes such as "Dallas" and the cover of a B.B. King song "Good Morning Little School Girl," both of which are considered to be two of his best songs. Throughout the next several years, Winter began to gain even more exposure, including performing at the inaugural Woodstock festival and releasing his third album, Second Winter.
By 1970, Winter experienced some upheaval in his band's lineup, most notably in the departure of his brother. Not deterred, he regrouped and formed the trio "Johnny Winter And" and pushed incorporated a more rock-based sound. The band's first self-titled album was released in 1970. It included the hit "Rock and Roll, Hootchie Koo."
Throughout the rest of the decade, Winter battled personal problems, but still managed to stay relevant and record albums during the 1980s. Among his most famous titles were 1984's Guitar Slinger and 1986's Third Degree. By the 1990s, Winter was battling several health conditions, but despite his struggles he continued to be a regular performer. In 1998 he released Live in NYC '97.
It has been more than 45 years since Johnny Winter first took the stage, and the indelible mark he has made on the music world cannot be undersold. With a sound unlike any other and a tenacity that keeps him on stage, he will certainly go down as one of the legends of rock.