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JUNO Award-Winning Guitarist Walter Rossi, Dead at 74

JUNO Award-Winning Guitarist Walter Rossi, Dead at 74

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(CelebrityAccess) – JUNO Award-winning guitarist who played with Wilson Pickett, Charlee, the Buddy Miles Express, and more passed away Friday (April 29). His friends confirmed Rossi’s death on social media. The Italian-Canadian passed at the age of 74 from lung cancer, one month shy of his 75th birthday.

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Walter Rossi, 2016 (Image: FB)

Rossi (born Rossignuoli Rossi) in Naples, Italy, in 1947, the guitarist first picked up the instrument in his early teens after his family moved to Montreal, playing Duane Eddy, Little Richard, and Elvis Presley songs.

While playing the club scene in the 60s, Rossi befriended Buddy Miles, known as a member of Jimmy Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys. The fast friendship led to Miles recommending Rossi join Wilson Pickett’s backup band. After touring with both the Buddy Miles Express and Pickett, he returned home to Canada, where he played with his band, Luke & The Apostles, through the 1970s and co-founded the band Charlee.

In his self-authored biography, Rossi tells how he was asked to play lead guitar for David Bowie, stepping in for Mark Ronson. However, Rossi’s father being ill, declined the request to play during the Ziggy Stardust tour. He claimed to have turned down offers to play from Three Dog Night, Janis Joplin, and Little Richard.

As a solo artist, he released his self-titled album in 1976, followed by Six Strings, Nine Lives (1978), Diamonds for the Kid (1980), and One Foot in Heaven, One Foot in Hell (1984).  He was a nominee for Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year at the 1978 JUNO awards. He later won in that category in 1980. The Felix Awards also nominated Rossi for Producer of the Year (1983) and Arranger (1984).

He is survivied by his sister, Gisella Rossignoli.

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