Guitarist Tommy Bolin died on this day in 1976 of a drug overdose. He was twenty-five years old.
Up to his final days, Bolin remained hard at work. At the time of his death, he was in Miami, Florida on tour supporting a recently-released solo album. He had played his final gig the night before.
Despite his youth, Bolin left a legacy of excellent guitar work. As well as playing as a solo artist, he worked in bands such as Zephyr and James Gang before joining Deep Purple after Ritchie Blackmore’s first resignation. His one album with Purple, Come Taste the Band, received good reviews in the press despite fan backlash; it has since received a warmer reception among fans as well. As the first of three American guitarists, Bolin laid the groundwork that his successors, Joe Satriani and Steve Morse, would both eventually follow in the 90s.
Today, it’s worth celebrating Tommy Bolin the artist and playing any of his work you might have your hands on.
Thank you for the music, Mr. Bolin!
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- Edit on 2020-12-03: Formatting update.