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Tony Glover, Influential Harmonica Player, Dylan Peer, Dead at 79

Rock and roll renaissance man taught Mick Jagger, wrote for Rolling Stone, worked as a radio DJ during remarkable career

November 4, 1996 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. - Folk/blues trio Koerner, Ray and Glover. -- Folk and blues trio (left to right) Tony Glover, Dave Ray and Spider John Koerner at the Hard Times Cafe on the West Bank. (Credit Image: © TNS via ZUMA Wire)

Folk and blues trio (left to right) Tony Glover, Dave Ray and Spider John Koerner at the Hard Times Cafe on the West Bank in Minneapolis.

© TNS/ZUMA

Tony Glover, the influential blues harmonica player who was a longtime peer of Bob Dylan and helped teach Mick Jagger how to play, died Wednesday, the Star Tribune reports. Glover reportedly died of natural causes after being hospitalized earlier this month. He was 79.

Glover made a lasting impression on a generation of musicians as a member of the blues and folk trio, Koerner, Ray and Glover, which also included John Koerner and Dave Ray. The group put out three albums in the early Sixties via Elektra — 1963’s Blues, Rags and Hollers, 1964’s Lots More Blues, Rags and Hollers and 1965’s The Return of Koerner, Ray and Glover — that would become touchstones for artists like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Bonnie Raitt and more.

As a staple of the Minnesota music scene in the early Sixties, Glover got to know Dylan, who even played a show in Glover’s home in 1963. Over the years, the two would remain close, while Glover would become a go-to Dylan expert: He penned the liner notes for Dylan’s famed Bootleg Series, Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The Royal Albert Hall Concert and featured prominently in Martin Scorsese’s Dylan doc, No Direction Home.

Beyond his harmonica playing, Glover was something of an early rock and roll renaissance man. He worked as a writer and critic, contributing to magazines like Crawdaddy and Cream, while also writing extensively for Rolling Stone between 1968 and 1973 (an archive of his work is available here). He also penned liner notes for other artists (John Lee Hooker, the Jayhawks, John Hammond), plus three books of harmonica instruction, one of which was even cited by the New York Dolls’ David Johansen. And in the late Sixties, Glover served as a late-night DJ on KDWB-AM in Minneapolis, scoring interviews with artists like Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend when they came to town.

Born October 7th, 1939 in Minneapolis, Glover grew up listening to artists like Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Leadbelly. He met his fellow blues obsessive and future bandmate, Dave Ray, in high school, and the two would continue to play together until Ray’s death in 2002.

Along with their Sixties output, Koerner, Ray and Glover would release two additional albums in the Seventies, while Glover and Ray would put out three albums between 1987 and 1993. In the mid-2000s, Glover launched a new group, V3, with Galen Michaelson and Jon Rodine. He also performed as a solo musician and often alongside Koerner. The two even release a live album, Live at the 400 Bar, in 2009.

Glover’s influence would also spread to a new generation of musicians, including Beck and Lucinda Williams. As a testament to his impact on the Minnesota music scene and rock and roll writ large, the Replacements famously invited Glover to join them on stage for a handful of songs during their only hometown reunion show in Minneapolis in 2014.

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