Freddie King: Five Acts of Legend

Freddie King performs live.
(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)
  • He could murder all comers in a cutting contest. Eric Clapton once said of performing with the “Texas Cannonball”: “Freddie could be pretty mean, but subtle with it. He’d make you feel at home, and then tear you to pieces.”
  • His 1961 single, “Hide Away,” became a blues standard, and it also broke into the pop charts (reaching #29 on the Billboard Hot 100) - a near miracle at a time when mainstream white audiences had little knowledge of blues music.
  • He broke the mold by being one of the first blues artists to employ a multiracial backup band.
  • The linebacker-sized bluesman’s ferocious tone was produced by a two-digit fingerpicking technique - using a plastic thumbpick and a metal pick on his index finger - as well as a Fender Quad Reverb cranked to almost heavy-metal volume.
  • He was progressive. His songwriting skills infused layered hooks, sonic textures, distinct melodies, bridges and crafty musical movements into the basic 12-bar blues format.   

Guitar Player is the world’s most comprehensive, trusted and insightful guitar publication for passionate guitarists and active musicians of all ages. Guitar Player magazine is published 13 times a year in print and digital formats. The magazine was established in 1967 and is the world's oldest guitar magazine.


When "Guitar Player Staff" is credited as the author, it's usually because more than one author on the team has created the story.