Alice Cooper has penned a heartfelt message paying tribute to acclaimed guitarist Dick Wagner, his former band mate and frequent songwriting partner, who died Wednesday at the age of 71.
"Dick Wagner and I shared as many laughs as we did hit records. He was one of a kind. He is irreplaceable," writes Cooper. "His brand of playing and writing is not seen anymore, and there are very few people that I enjoyed working with as much as I enjoyed working with Dick Wagner."
Cooper goes on to credit his collaborative relationship with Wagner for helping him to find success as a solo artist. "Some of my biggest singles were ballads that I wrote with Dick Wagner," he points out. "There was just a magic in the way we wrote together. He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing."
Cooper finishes his homage by saying, "I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick's passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, Rock N Roll and to his family."
Wagner played guitar and was a major songwriting contributor on all of Alice's late 1970s albums. He also made sporadic appearances on other Cooper albums, most recently co-writing and playing on a song featured on 2011's Welcome 2 My Nightmare. In addition, Alice wrote the introduction to Dick's 2012 memoir, Not Only Women Bleed.
Wagner, who also was well-known for his guitar contributions to Lou Reed's 1974 live album Rock 'n' Roll Animal, died of respiratory failure after undergoing a heart operation earlier in July.
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