Passings: Allan Holdsworth, Innovative British Guitarist (1946 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Allan Holdsworth, a British guitarist and composer whose styles and knowledge were revered by many of the best in the business, died on Sunday night at the age of 70. No word has been released on his cause of death.

His daughter, Louise Holdworth, said on Facebook:

It is with heavy hearts that we notify everyone of the passing of our beloved father. We would appreciate privacy and time while we grieve the loss of our dad, grandad, friend and musical genius. We will update close friends and family when service arrangements have been made and will notify the public of an open memorial service, which all would be welcome. We are undeniably still in shock with his unexpected death and cannot begin to put into words the overwhelming sadness we are experiencing. He is missed tremendously.

Louise, Sam, Emily & Rori

Holdsworth first started playing music professionally in 1969 with the band 'Igginbottom who released just one album, 'Igginbottom's Wrench, before breaking up.

He was next in Sunship, which played live but never released an albums, Nucleus where he played on their 1972 album Belladonna, and Tempest, performing on their self-titled debut.

Throughout the rest of the 70's, he played with a long list of bands including Soft Machine, The New Tony Williams Lifetime, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, Bruford and U.K. along with Jean-Luc Ponty. In 1976, Holdsworth's first solo album, Velvet Darkness, was released by CTI Records; however, Holdsworth claims he never gave permission for the album to go to market and that it was just a rehearsal that had been recorded and was never intended as a finished work.

At the dawn of the 80's, Holdsworth started working with jazz pianist Gordon Beck, playing on a Beck album and later releasing an official collaboration between the two, and his own band, False Alarm which would later be renamed I.O.U.

Even with all the changes in his professional affiliations, Holdsworth drew the notice of fellow guitarists who admired his style. Among those that name him as an influenced are Joe Satriani, Richie Kotzen, Alex Lifeson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Tom Morello and Eddie Van Halen, who brought Allan to the attention of executives at Warner Brothers.

Holdsworth released his first true solo record in 1983, Road Games, which was produced by Ted Templeman and was nominated at the 1984 Grammys for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

By the middle of the decade, Holdsworth had parted with Warner Brothers, moved to California, and signed with Enigma Records. In 1985, he released Metal Fatigue, the first of nine more solo releases he would put out through 2001. He also took up the SynthAxe, a cross between a guitar and a MIDI, which would be a major part of his performance repertoire for the next 15 years.

Holdsworth also continued to collaborate with other artists throughout the rest of his career, including Stanley Clarke, Chad Wackerman, Level 42 and K2 and wrote three books.

Contemporaries quickly started releasing statements on Holdsworth:

Steve Lukather:

I cant believe it!
Allan Holdsworth, legendary guitarist of our generation !
He changed the game + was the sweetest guy ever...
RIP

Level 42:

Allan Holdsworth R.I.P. The world lost one of the greatest innovators of the electric guitar, an iconoclastic genius. This is a sad day. Photos courtesy of Patrick Eden.

Mike Portnoy:

F*ck!!!!! RIP Allan Holdsworth....One of the all-time greats and innovators...no Holdsworth = no Eddie Van Halen #UK #OneOfAKind
To have lost Squire, Emerson, Lake, Wetton & now Holdsworth in under 2 years is unfathomable...The Great Prog Gig in the Sky keeps growing 😔

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