British guitarist Bert Weedon, who inspired a generation — including some of the world’s best-known players — to pick up the string instrument, died at the age of 91 on Friday, a close friend announced.
Nicknamed “Mr Guitar”, Weedon, whose “Play In A Day” tutorial books sold millions, was an in-demand session player who backed stars such as Frank Sinatra.
The Beatles’ George Harrison, John Lennon as well as Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Queen guitarist Brian May and Pete Townshend of The Who were all among those who started out with Weedon’s books. The Shadows also dedicated a song to him.
His friend John Adrian said Weedon died at his home in Beaconsfield, west of London.
Weedon was born in east London and aged 12 he persuaded his father to buy a battered guitar from a street market.
He started out playing with big bands before embarking on a solo career which saw him notch up hits including “Guitar Boogie Shuffle” and “Nashville Boogie”.
The arrival of rock ‘n’ roll provided him with a new role as a top session man who played with stars including Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney and Cliff Richard.
His first “Play In A Day” book was published in 1957.
Clapton once said he had “never met a player of any consequence” who had not learned from the books.
Weedon is survived by his wife and two sons.