Bert Jansch, the Scottish folk musician, Pentangle co-founder, and guitar hero to Neil Young, Jimmy Page and many others, died today after a long battle with cancer. He was 67.
Named one of Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, Jansch first came to prominence with a self-titled debut album in 1965, which featured a song later covered by Donovan. The guitarist was widely admired by fellow musicians: Led Zeppelin's "Black Mountain Side" is clearly indebted to Jansch, and Neil Young, who invited Jansch to open for him on tour last year, has compared Jansch's status as an acoustic guitarist to Jimi Hendrix's on the electric guitar. Jansch's last studio album, The Black Swan (2006), featured contributions from Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart.
"He completely reinvented guitar playing and set a standard that is still unequalled today," former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr told the Telegraph (U.K.). "Without Bert Jansch, rock music as it developed in the 1960s and 1970s would have been very different. You hear him in Nick Drake, Pete Townshend, Donovan, the Beatles, Jimmy Page and Neil Young. There are people playing guitar who don't even realize they've been influenced by him one step removed."
"Pegi and I were lucky enough to play with him on all of our shows for the last couple of years," Neil Young tells Rolling Stone. "He is a hero of mine, one of my greatest influences. Bert was one of the all-time great acoustic guitar players and singer songwriters. Our sincerest sympathies to his soulmate Loren. We love you Bert."