RIP Bert Weedon 10 May 1920 – 20 April 2012
Bert Weedon, the English guitarist credited with inspiring millions to pick up and get to grips with the instrument using his Play in a Day books, has died at the age of 91.
A roll-call of musical greats including Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Robert Smith of the Cure and Brian May of Queen learned how to pluck at the strings of their guitars using his books, which sold in their millions
Although he was to claim one Top 10 hit in his career, his influence could be heard on countless number ones from the impact of his Play In A Day books, first published in 1957.
The teenage John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison all started off with Play In A Day, so Weedon could certainly claim to be a key figure in the genesis of the Beatles, and the subsequent dominance of guitar based popular music in the Sixties. Keith Richards, Pete Townshend and Steve Hillage were also acolytes.
Brian 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 same thing.”
He said today, “He will be so sadly missed by all his friends because he is one of the most generous and giving people I have ever met in my life.
“He was always teaching people, privately and publicly. You know, he didn’t have any secrets from anyone and he was so supportive to us all.”
Weedon continued to play live and release records and was a stalwart member of the show business charity the Grand Order of Water Rats. He was awarded an OBE in the 2001 Queen’s birthday honours list for services to music.