- 06 Mar 23
78-year-old David Lindley passed away on Friday, March 3rd.
Tributes have flooded in following the death of guitarist David Lindley, a musician acknowledged as a player's player last Friday.
Rising to prominence for his contributions to Jackson Browne’s 1977 multi-platinum album Running On Empty, Lindley passed away at the age of 78 on March 3. The San Marino, California native's cause of death has yet to be revealed.
The multi-instrumentalist announced a fundraiser to cover his medical expenses for an undisclosed illness earlier this year. A family member posted late last year that Lindley had been repeatedly hospitalized for kidney issues, pneumonia and influenza.
In the wake of Lindley’s passing, his peers have taken to social media to pay tribute, with Joe Bonamassa, Graham Nash and more offering their praise for Lindley.
“The loss of David Lindley is a huge one,” tweeted Jason Isbell. “Without his influence my music would sound completely different. I was genuinely obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard it. The man was a giant.”
The loss of David Lindley is a huge one- Without his influence my music would sound completely different. I was genuinely obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard it. The man was a giant.
— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) March 3, 2023
“Rest in Peace to one of the greatest ever to ever play music. David Lindley changed the game for all of us,” Joe Bonamassa said in his tribute.
Lindley’s tenure with Browne includes all of that artist’s seminal works from 1973-80, and several more Browne albums beyond that, with his most famous soloing being heard on the title track of the Running on Empty album, along with a falsetto vocal on the same record’s 'Stay.'
One-time collaborator Graham Nash called Lindley “One of the most talented musicians there has ever been” in an Instagram post, adding, “David could play pretty much any instrument you put in front of him with incredible versatility and expression. He was truly a musician’s musician and has been admired with awe and respect for such a long time now.”
“He was also a wonderful person and a friend. He is going to be very missed. My heart and love go out to his family and to everyone who loved him so.”
Horror scribe Stephen King also paid tribute to Lindley in a tweet, writing, “So sorry to hear the great David Lindley has passed away. The world has lost a brilliant musician.”
So sorry to hear the great David Lindley has passed away. The world has lost a brilliant musician.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 3, 2023
David worked with many other performers including Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon, Curtis Mayfield and Dolly Parton.
Additional session work included playing with Emmylou Harris, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Kenny Loggins, Leonard Cohen, Little Feat, the Bangles, John Prine, Shawn Colvin, Amy Grant, America, Bread, Eddie Money, Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, Aaron Neville, Terry Reid, David Blue and many others.
Lindley also had a longstanding career as a frontman, first with the band Kaleidoscope, which issued four albums in 1967-70, then in the 1980s as the leader of what he called a “party-rock” group, El Rayo-X, with whom he had a minor hit with the classic song 'Mercury Blues' in 1981.
Steve Conte also posted an emotional message on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
"Another great musician gone today, RIP, David Lindley," Conte said. "He was one of the first amazing slide guitarists I had ever seen live - back in 1978 on Jackson Browne’s Running On Empty tour. Not only did he play the most tasteful parts, riffs and solos, he even came out front and sang the last falsetto chorus on 'Stay' (The Load Out medley).
"I saw him a few years ago at the Cutting Room in New York City and we chatted after the show about playing the oud. What a sweet man. I listened to Mercury Blues nonstop for awhile after that night. This death thing is getting to be overwhelming...Wayne Shorter yesterday, my friends Fred Walcott & Jeff Young a few days earlier."
He is also known for a series of collaborations with Ry Cooder that began with the Jazz and Bop Till You Drop albums in 1979-80 and continued into Cooder’s 1980s soundtrack era.
“That final cadenza on that one live version of Jackson Browne’s ‘Running on Empty’ is the greatest recorded live song ending EVER,” tweeted Living Colour guitarist Vernon Reid upon seeing news of Lindley’s death.
Best known for his guitar wizardry, David Lindley was a master stylist – but he was also a music obsessive.
"The news of David Lindley’s passing is truly devastating,” artist agent Paul Charles said. "He really was the best of the best. A true genius.”
"As he toured around the world with the various artists he was vital to,” Paul recalled, "he trawled the junkshops and pawnshops, seeking out weird and wonderful instruments. He could produce extraordinarily soulful music from any stringed instrument.”
Lindley is survived by his wife, Joanie Lindley and daughter Rosanne.
Read more tributes to David Lindley below.
— bluesharp (@bluezharp) March 4, 2023
Aw, just hearing David Lindley has died. Wish he'd stayed just a little bit longer. pic.twitter.com/5k0jBDPX0K
— 𝗗𝗘𝗔𝗗𝗦𝗢𝗨𝗡𝗗 💀 (@DeadsoundApp) March 3, 2023
It’s so sad to hear of David Lindley’s passing. He was a giant among musicians. Always his unique sound and style gave him away in one note. My thoughts are with his family.
— Peter Frampton (@peterframpton) March 4, 2023
You can see photos of a young Dave Lindley on banjo at this fine historical site: David Lindley and Chris Darrow (pre-Kaleidoscope) - Bruno Ceriotti, rock historian https://t.co/4QK9S1P8od
— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) March 5, 2023
shit, rip david lindley. with parents who are huge jackson browne & warren zevon fans, i grew up listening to him make the WILDEST sounds on every stringed instrument known to man. what a singular talent pic.twitter.com/3Ca9hP5G5c
— Patrick Lyons (@p_lyons_) March 4, 2023
RIP David Lindley. The guitar solos on “Late For The Sky” (and throughout the same titled album) are peak bummer rock. Pure LA studio cat melancholy blues. https://t.co/9DEruVeGPY
— Steven Hyden (@Steven_Hyden) March 4, 2023
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