Allen Stone, the celebrated guitarist and songwriter, died of cancer last night.
He was 87.
Born in Toronto in 1928, Stone was an avid musician and pianist who was a pioneer of jazz guitar.
He worked with the likes of B.B. King and Louis Armstrong, who recorded their own version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with him in 1963.
He died in Los Angeles last Thursday.
As I read about the story, I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, Allen was a genius, the only genius I’ve ever heard of.”
The singer and songwriters have been at the forefront of the country music genre for decades.
Stone’s early recordings were often the subject of scathing reviews, often citing the lack of a real groove and the fact that he used the word “chaos.”
In his early recordings, Stone’s music was a bit of a wild west.
He often used some of the most extreme and wild sounds that are still around today.
“The first time I heard a bass guitar solo, I thought it was a guitar, but it sounded like a bass, not like a guitar,” he once told the Los Angeles Times.
One of his earliest hits, “My Favorite Things,” became an anthem for the country rock movement.
A blues artist, he recorded a hit single for Elvis Presley called “The Good Old Days” in 1960, and a single for Stevie Wonder in 1961.
In 1965, he wrote and recorded “Rockin’ In the Free World,” a song about a band of musicians from New Orleans that performed in concert halls across the country.
Later, he teamed up with the great Bob Dylan to record the song “Stairway to Heaven” with a piano and guitar.
His songs were often written to fit into the landscape of his life, such as “The Way I Am” and “The River,” which were songs that reflected his social anxiety and personal struggles.
On top of the wild guitar sounds, Stone also had a vocal style that was almost operatic.
Even when he was playing, he had a way of singing that was so much deeper than his playing.
I was really into his vocals, and I was really excited by his songs.
After a long career, he was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1970.