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Blues Pioneer Hubert Sumlin Dies

Jimmy Page and Keith Richards pay tribute

Sumlin was a guitarist in Howlin Wolf's band in the 1950s and he was an early inspiration to the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix.

Sumlin’s eerie guitar counterpart to Howlin’ Wolf’s unearthly moaning on the 1956 hit "Smokestack Lightnin’ ” has lately been featured in a television commercial for Viagra. He also played lead on "Back Door Man,” "Spoonful” and "The Red Rooster,” all written and arranged by the Chicago blues trailblazer Willie Dixon.

Page said of Sumlin "He always played the right thing at the right time.”

Keith Richards, meanwhile, said "With sorrow I received the news of Hubert's pasing. He put up a long hard fight. To me he was an uncle and a teacher and all the guitar players must feel the same as myself. Warm, humorous and always encouraging, he was a gentleman of the first order. Miss him, yes, but we have his records. All my condolences to his family. One love, Hubert"

Sumlin was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 2008. Rolling Stone magazine recently included him on a list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

He passed away in New Jersey aged 80.

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