GRAMMY-nominated blues guitarist Johnny Winter died July 16 in Zurich, while in the midst of a European tour. No official cause of death has been disclosed. He was 70. Lauded for his lightning-fast riffs, Winter took up guitar at an early age while his brother, fellow GRAMMY nominee Edgar Winter, learned keyboards and saxophone. Winter's debut album, 1968's The Progressive Blues Experiment, reached No. 40 on the Billboard 200 and garnered praise from Rolling Stone, which labeled Winter "the hottest item [in Texas] outside of Janis Joplin." Winter would chart several other albums, including Johnny Winter (1969, No. 24), Second Winter (1969, No. 55), Live/Johnny Winter And (1971, No. 40), and Still Alive And Well (1973, No. 22). Winter scored his highest charting single in 1971 with a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Jumpin' Jack Flash," which reached No. 89 on the Billboard Hot 100. Winter, who ranked No. 63 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists list, received five GRAMMY nominations during his career, most recently scoring a 2004 nod for Best Contemporary Blues Album for I'm A Bluesman. Winter's new studio album, Step Back, is set for release Sept. 2. The album will feature collaborations with GRAMMY winners such as Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, and Dr. John, among others.
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