Roy Buchanan

Roy Buchanan has long been considered one of the finest, yet criminally overlooked guitarists of the blues rock genre whose lyrical leads and use of harmonics would later influence such guitar greats as Jeff Beck, his one-time student Robbie Robertson, and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. Although born in Ozark, AR, on September 23, 1939, Buchanan grew up in the small town of Pixley, CA. His father was both a farmer and Pentecostal preacher, which would bring the youngster his first exposure to gospel music when his family would attend racially mixed revival meetings. But it was when Buchanan came across late-night R&B radio shows that he became smitten by the blues, leading to Buchanan picking up the guitar at the age of seven. First learning steel guitar, he switched to electric guitar by the age of 13, finding the instrument that would one day become his trademark: a Fender Telecaster. By 15, Buchanan knew he wanted to concentrate on music full-time and relocated to Los Angeles, which contained a thriving blues/R&B scene at the time. Shortly after his arrival in L.A., Buchanan was taken under the wing by multi-talented bluesman Johnny Otis, before studying blues with such players as Jimmy Nolen (later with James Brown), Pete Lewis, and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. During the mid- to late '50s, Buchanan led his own rock band, the Heartbeats, which soon after began backing rockabilly great Dale ("Suzy Q") Hawkins.