Eddie Lang Famous Guitarist

Posted by admin On October - 16 - 2020

Eddie Lang – Oct 13 2020

A few days ago when AOL listed it’s 44 Greatest Guitarists of all time, I felt the responsibility to share this with you.  Let me reveal to you who could be regarded as the greatest guitarist of all time, and certainly one of the most important that ever lived. 

Years ago, a close friend of mine, Kitty Good, who worked in Reno in the makeup and clothing department of a prominent casino, would often share with me memories of her late husband, Eddie Lang.  While Kitty is not longer with us, although she lived to be over 100 years old.  Eddie was not so fortunate, as he passed away at 30 years old. He is regarded as the father of the Jazz guitar.  The influence he had on guitarists can only be described as mind boggling.  When Bing Crosby was headlining with the Paul Whiteman Band, he requested from Paul to allow Eddie Lang to play behind him for certain guitar solos.  Eddie sat in the orchestra, in the rear area of the orchestra, fairly hidden.  It was the absolute pressure of Crosby that made Whiteman decide to allow the guitar as singular background, which initially Whiteman was against, as the guitar in that time was not considered a very important instrument.  It was Eddie Lang who was the first to give the guitar a distinctive position and attention as a solo instrument in popular music and for almost 2 decades he was the acknowledged master of the instrument.  With gigantic influence over guitarists who followed him.  He had highly advanced technical, rhythmic and harmonic skills and really established the techniques of modern guitar playing.  He was the most sought after studio and broadcast musician of his day, recording 100s and 100s of disks with singers, orchestras, dance bands, jazz groups, every kind of musical combination you could imagine, and he was the first guitarist in the popular music field, to record unaccompanied solos and also he participated in jazz guitar duets.  Bing Crosby considered him as a personal accompanist and confidant to have played a major role in Crosby’s breakthrough as a solo artist.  He made so of the most important records in the history of jazz, which included sessions with Bix Beiderbecke, Bessy Smith, Joe Venuti, and Louie Armstrong. 

Interestingly enough Eddie Lang showed no tolerance for any kind of racism and appeared on more recording sessions with black artists including Louie Armstrong, Bessy Smith and Lonnie Johnson, then any other white musician of his time.  His name became synonymous with the guitar for decades and for 15 years he was the most important jazz guitarist in the world, and that continued 6 years after his death.

One of the heart-breaking scenes in music history, is when Bing Crosby walked into a hospital where Eddie’s wife was sitting. Crosby sobbing almost hysterically, buried his head in Kitty’s lap.  It turns out that he advised Eddie of a tonsillectomy because of throat problems, and Bing was arranging for him to appear in a motion picture that Bing was starring in.  Eddie unfortunately died because of the accidental handling of the doctor, and he was only 30 years old.

When I look on this computer article and keep reminding myself of the title, which is 44 of the Greatest Guitarists of all Time.  I find it almost beyond belief that Eddie Lang is not listed. 

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