| LONDON, April 20
LONDON, April 20 Bert Weedon, whose "Play in a
Day" guitar guide set some of the biggest names in rock and roll
on the road to greatness, has died. He was 91.
The man who also inspired millions of others to pluck away
at the strings in their bedrooms died at his home in
Beaconsfield, southern England, in the early hours of the
morning after a long illness, his agent and long-time friend
Johnny Mans told Reuters.
Play in a Day, released in 1957, has sold more than two
million copies and helped inspire a generation of budding
musicians, from teenagers playing in school bands to the likes
of Eric Clapton, Brian May of Queen and the late John Lennon.
May once referred to Weedon as the "Guitar Wizard" and "a
legend", while Clapton, in a 1970s interview, said:
"I wouldn't have felt the urge to press on without the tips
and encouragement that Bert's book 'Play in a Day' gives you.
I've never met a player of any consequence that doesn't say the
Weedon, born in London in 1920, was an accomplished player
in his own right who accompanied stars including Frank Sinatra
and Judy Garland during a long career in music.
According to his official online biography, he convinced his
father to buy him his first guitar in London's Petticoat Lane
market when he was 12 years old. It cost 75 pence.
Initially Weedon learned classical guitar, a grounding that
equipped him to adapt to a range of musical styles, from jazz to
dance music, later in life.
He featured in some of the biggest bands of the day and
landed prominent television slots including four years on the
BBC's Show Band show.
As well as his participation in early rock recordings,
Weedon enjoyed success on his own, becoming the first British
guitarist to get a solo record in the Hit Parade with "Guitar
He played for Cliff Richard and Billy Fury, among others,
but his biggest influence came through Play in a Day.
"Bert was the man who wrote 'Play in a Day', and everybody
seemed to follow that book -- Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Bill
Wyman, among others," Mans said.
"He really was the 'king of the guitar'," he added. "He was
also one of the nicest, most genuine guys you could ever wish to
Weedon was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Queen's Birthday
Honours List for services to music. He is survived by his wife
and two sons.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)