Hank Garland Dead at 74

Guitarist who played with Elvis, Bird, Patsy Cline passes

December 29, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Innovative guitarist Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland, who played on recordings by Elvis, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, died of a staph infection Monday night at a hospital in Orange Park, Florida. He was seventy-four years old.

Born outside of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Garland began playing guitar at age six, scoring his first hit, the instrumental "Sugarfoot Rag," at nineteen. A member of a select group of Nashville session musicians known as the "A-team," he also recorded a jazz album, Jazz Winds From a New Direction, and jammed with Charlie Parker and pianist George Shearing.

In 1961 a car accident left Garland in a coma for months. The guitarist sustained significant brain damage and suffered a loss in coordination that prevented him from returning to top form.

Fellow A-team guitarist Harold Bradley once said of Garland, "We haven't had another one come down the pike who plays the lines that he played. We've got some guys who play fast, but ...they don't have the feeling, the soul."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

More Song Stories entries »