Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dick Wagner dead at 71

Richard Allen "Dick" Wagner
December 14, 1942-July 30, 2014

Guitarist Dick Wagner, best known for his work with Alice Cooper and Lou Reed, died Wednesday July 30 from respiratory failure. He was 71 year old. Just two weeks before his death, Wagner had undergone heart surgery to unblock an artery. After the surgery, Wagner contracted a lung infection. 

Wagner, born in Iowa, started out playing in several bands before being asked by producer Bob Ezrin to perform on Lou Reed's 1973 concept album Berlin. Along with performing on the album, Wagner toured with Reed during this time. One of the Reed's shows that year was captured on the 1974 live release Rock N Roll Animal. In 1975, Wagner played on Alice Cooper's debut solo album Welcome to My Nightmare. As he had done with Reed, Wagner performed in Cooper's solo band for Nightmare's lavish tour. During the show, Wagner and guitarist Steve Hunter would have a guitar duel during "The Black Widow." This, as well as the rest of Cooper's Nightmare tour, were filmed for the 1975 concert film of the same name. 

With Cooper, Wagner contributed to most of his early work as a solo artist. Together, the two wrote several songs including a series of chart topping ballads: "Only Women Bleed" from Welcome to My Nightmare, "I Never Cry" from Alice Cooper Goes to Hell and "You and Me" from Lace and Whiskey. Other highlights in Wagner's career include guesting on Aerosmith's rendition of "Train Kept A' Rollin" and performing on Kiss' Destroyer, when guitarist Ace Frehley didn't show up. 

I'm sad to hear of Dick's passing. I did know before that he was sick and would undergo surgery. It isn't too much of a surprise but it is indeed a significant loss in the world of rock music. I wish he got more recognition because he did deserve it. 

Rest in peace, Dick. 

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