Remembering Lonnie Mack

Lonnie Mack - Copy (2)The music world lost a true legend on April 21st. Guitarist Lonnie Mack was a major influence on both American and British guitarists in the 1960’s after bursting onto the scene with the instrumental classic “Wham!” (I wrote an article for BG in 2013 about Lonnie.)

I was on the road with B.B. King for 2 years when I was younger, and I always ran into Lonnie. He was always very willing to share things about his playing technique with me, and had countless great stories. One of my favorites was how he came close to being a household name with his solo on The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues” only to have people to this day think that Jim Morrison is yelling out “Do it Robbie do it!” instead of “Do it Lonnie do it!” He always laughed it off, though, and also told me he came this close to kicking Morrison’s ass in the studio as his patience ran thin with the singer’s antics. Lonnie was all about making music, and wasting time for partying and whatnot with Morrison did not sit well with him. Nevertheless, he recorded a classic solo on “Roadhouse” and he said all was cool between him and Jim at the end.

lonnie mack bg 5Lonnie and I kept in touch over the years, and when he played Legends in 1997, I was honored to have him waiting for me to arrive at the club, and then put me right in front of him ordering me to “take lots of shots man! I want copies too!” When I wrote the 2013 BG piece, I sent him a few copies. I was pretty surprised when about a week later he mailed a signed copy back to me:


Hey Todd
Good Job
Lonnie Mack


Lonnie knew I revered him. He was one of my heroes when I first started playing guitar, and he still is. Lonnie was a man’s man. He took no bull, stood up for what he believed and never followed trends. And, just like BB, I saw him always make time for fans, sharing stories way into the late hours.
lonnie mack bg 3I’m honored I got to know Lonnie and spend some time with the man. I’m sure gonna miss him. Thanks for The Music Lonnie, R.I.P. July 18, 1941 – April 21, 2016


Todd Beebe

Todd Beebe

Todd Beebe is a full time musician/teacher in the Chicago area and a staff writer at BG: Blues And Music News. His first exposure to music was hearing his Grandfather's bands playing Traditional Country music by the likes of Hank Williams Sr., The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. Tracing the roots of that music lead him to his love of the Blues. Todd is available for private guitar instruction at All About Music, Inc. in Mokena, IL. 708-479-0440 For more info contact him @ 708-214-6459 or visit

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