Allan Holdsworth R.I.P. A guitar Hero Goes to the Gods.

Guitar icon Alan Holdsworth passes-away at age 70.

by John Diliberto April 16, 1970 Alan HoldsworthAllan Holdsworth passes at Age 70.

Allan Holdsworth was a fret-blazing guitarist who torched his way through a wide range of iconic progressive rock and fusion.

Alan HoldsworthBorn in England in 1946, Holdsworth spent a few years in the London underground, playing in little-known groups like ‘Igginbottom and the progressive bands, Tempest and Nucleus. He cut a tepid debut album, Velvet Darkness, in 1976, which he claimed was a rehearsal session, never intended for release.  But following that album, he began carving out an international reputation while carving through the music of The Soft Machine, Tony William’s Lifetime, the Pierre Moerlen era of Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty and the Bill Bruford Band. With Bruford, he was a founding member of the progressive rock group U.K. Holdsworth also released about a dozen solo albums.

Holdsworth’s style was marked by furiously fast fretwork. Melodies flowed out in endless streams then fractured into unusual leaps and shifts of dynamics. I was fortunate to catch Holdsworth live in many incarnations. He played at the Main Point in Bryn Mawr, first with The Soft Machine, touring their album Bundles, and then with Tony William’s Lifetime behind the Believe It! album. He lit up the Tower Theatre in Philadelphia with Jean-Luc Ponty, as he did with the Bill Bruford Band and then UK. I also caught him with his own band sometime in the 1980s at the Trocadero Theater in Philadelphia, playing his alien technology Synthaxe and finally in 2007 at Nearfest. He made ridiculously complex music seem effortless.


Allan Holdsworth was always a musician’s musician, someone adored by the master technicians of guitar craft, such as Eddie Van Halen, Vernon Reid, Joe Satriani, and John McLaughlin.

John Mclaughlin‏ @jmcl_gtr
Another great guitar player lost . RIP #allanholdsworth

Joe Satriani‏ @chickenfootjoe
R.I.P. Allan Holdsworth. You remain an enormous inspiration to me. Your beautiful music will live on forever.

Vernon Reid‏ @vurnt22
#allanholdsworth did for electric guitar & guitar synth, what Eric Dolphy did for Sax & woodwinds- utterly Revolutionize them!

Alan HoldsworthA double CD anthology of his solo work, Eidolon: The Allan Holdsworth Collection, has just been released. The cause of death has not been released, but it seems to have been a surprise to those around him. Allan Holdsworth, gone at age 70.

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