Guitarist Pete Haycock, a founding member of Climax Blues Band, died on Wednesday in Germany after suffering an apparent heart attack, the U.K. band's official website reports. He was 62.
Haycock was part of the Climax Blues Band lineup from 1967 to 1985, and contributed to the group's biggest hits. These included 1976's "Couldn't Get It Right" and 1981's "I Love You," which reached #3 and #11, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100.
After leaving the band, the guitarist moved to Germany, where he focused on composing movie scores. He also played for a few years with ELO Part 2, an Electric Light Orchestra spinoff group founded by that band's original drummer Bev Bevan. This year, Haycock formed his own version of Climax Blues Band, but, according to ClassicRockMagazine.com, his health issues limited his participation in the group.
The tribute on the Climax Blues Band's website called Haycock "one of the finest exponents of slide guitar of his time, and a great singer," noting that along with fellow founding member Colin Cooper -- who died in 2008 -- "he supplied the integral and fundamental guitar and sax sound that contributed to making the band so popular."
Meanwhile, Robin George, lead singer of Haycock's current group, has written his own homage to his band mate, saying, "If he wasn't the best blues guitar player in the world, he was definitely in the top one!"
George also reports that Pete Haycock's Climax Blues Band just finished recording a new album titled Broke Heart Blues that Haycock co-wrote and produced. The singer says, as per the wishes of Haycock's wife, Alex, he plans to dedicate the record to Pete.
"Broke Heart Blues is a heart-breaking title for me now, but Pete's countless fans deserve to hear his last fabulous performances," writes George. "I listened to Broke Heart Blues last night and the words he sang from the heart and his stunning guitar work overwhelmed me."
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