Rock guitar legend Ronnie Montrose, who played with the likes of Van Morrison, Sammy Hagar and Boz Scaggs, died Saturday (March 3). He was 64.
Montrose had an impressive start to his professional music career. When he was just 24, he played on Morrison’s fabled 1971 album “Tupelo Honey.” He followed that up by working with The Edgar Winter Group, playing on such songs as “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.”
Montrose then stepped out to form his own group in 1973. It was here that he helped launch the career of lead singer Hagar. While the two collaborated, they produced such rock classics as “Rock Candy” and “Bad Motor Scooter.”
A statement on Montrose’s website reads, “A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday. He gave an impromptu speech and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn’t take any of our love for granted. He passed today. He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life. We miss him already, but we’re glad to have shared him while we could.”
Hagar also offered his thoughts and condolences. He writes on his website, “Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a front man, as a recording artist, as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful…It’s a shame to lose Ronnie and I’m so sorry for his loved ones. Rest in peace.”