Prog/Fusion Guitarist Allan Holdsworth Dies, Age 70

Legendary guitarist Allan Holdsworth passed away April 16th at the age of 70. Holdsworth melded progressive and fusion guitar playing to create a unique style that even Eddie Van Halen, who considered Allan his favorite guitarist, admitted he couldn’t cop his licks because he wasn’t sure what he was playing. Guitar World magazine called him “as influential as Chuck Berry, Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen.”

Allan Holdsworth first came to prominence in the progressive UK music scene of the 1970s, playing in bands like Nucleus and Tempest. He became much more known in the mid to late ’70s through his work with Soft Machine, the New Tony Williams Lifetime, Pierre Moerlen’s Gong, Jean Luc-Ponty, Bill Bruford and U.K. Holdsworth began working as a band leader of his own in the early ’80s (including a show fondly remembered by locals at Atlanta’s 688 in June of 1982). In 1983 an attempted collaboration with Eddie Van Halen did not occur because of Eddie’s schedule and the resulting Ted Templeman-produced EP Road Games was later dismissed by Holdsworth as a failure. In all, Holdsworth had 12 solo releases.

At the time of writing, the cause of Holdsworth’s death is unknown. Tributes flooded in from folks like Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Neal Schon and Al DiMeola. Hopefully some of these more well-to-do musicians can help the Holdsworth family with funeral expenses, as Allan reportedly had little in savings (recent touring saw him staying at fans’ houses as he did not have enough money to cover a hotel room) and his children are also struggling financially and can’t pay for a proper funeral. A Gofundme account has been set up to help.