Allan Holdsworth, hailed by his peers as one of the most technically gifted guitarists of his time, has died at the age of 70. His passing was announced Sunday (April 16) by family members on social media.
The innovative muso shaped his reputation through the ‘70s as a master of prog-rock and jazz fusion with such acts as Soft Machine, Gong and U.K., but never quite struck the commercial success he richly deserved. His signature two-handed finger tapping style influenced the best in the business, from Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Tom Morello, Peter Frampton to Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen, who called him “the best, in my book.” In a later interview, the Van Halen axeman declared: “Holdsworth is so damned good that I can’t cop anything. I can’t understand what he’s doing," and in 2015 he told Billboard that Holdsworth was the last “new” guitarist he liked (Van Halen was eight years his junior).
As news of his death spread, Frampton remembered Holdsworth as a “brilliant unique guitar master player,” and Satriani tweeted, “You remain an enormous inspiration to me. Your beautiful music will live on forever.”