John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014), known as Johnny Winter, was an American blues guitarist, singer, and producer. Best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and ’70s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Winter, along with his musician brother Edgar (born 1946), were nurtured at an early age by their parents in musical pursuits. Johnny and his brother, both of whom were born with albinism, began performing at an early age. When he was ten years old, Winter appeared on a local children’s show, playing ukulele and singing Everly Brothers songs with his brother.
His recording career began at the age of fifteen, when his band Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland. In the early days Winter would sometimes sit in with Roy Head and the Traits when they performed in the Beaumont, Texas area, and in 1967, Winter recorded a single with the Traits: “Tramp” backed with “Parchman Farm” (Universal Records 30496). In 1968, he released his first album The Progressive Blues Experiment, on Austin’s Sonobeat Records.
Winter was professionally active until up to the time of his death in Zurich, Switzerland, on 16 July 2014. He died in his hotel two days after his last performance, at the Cahors Blues Festival in France on July 14. The cause of Winter’s death was not clear. He was scheduled to begin a United States tour beginning August 1, 2014 at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury in Westbury, New York. His newest album, Step Back (which features stars including Eric Clapton, ZZ Top rocker Billy Gibbons and Aerosmith’s Joe Perry), not yet released, is scheduled for release on September 2, 2014.
Read more at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Winter