David Lindley, a guitarist during the 1970s and ‘80s whose soaring solo on Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty” cemented his legacy as a go-to session player, died Friday. He was 78.
Lindley, a resident of Claremont, Oklahoma, had been in ill health for several months, the Claremont Courier reported. No cause of death was given, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Lindley’s prowess with the guitar and fiddle made him a sought-after collaborator. In addition to Browne, he worked with Bruce Springsteen, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Joe Walsh and Toto, Rolling Stone reported.
David Lindley, a multi-instrumentalist who shaped the sound of soft rock in the 1970s, has died at age 78https://t.co/kG4dyP9LA3— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) March 3, 2023
“The loss of David Lindley is a huge one,” singer Jason Isbell tweeted. “Without his influence my music would sound completely different. I was genuinely obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard it. The man was a giant.”
The loss of David Lindley is a huge one- Without his influence my music would sound completely different. I was genuinely obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard it. The man was a giant.— Jason Isbell (@JasonIsbell) March 3, 2023
Lindley also appeared on albums by Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Crosby & Nash and Ry Cooder, the Times reported.
“One of the most talented musicians there has ever been,” Graham Nash wrote in an Instagram post. “David could play pretty much any instrument you put in front of him with incredible versatility and expression.”
In a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone, the late David Crosby also spoke about Lindley’s talent along with other members of The Section, a crew of session musicians who defined soft rock during the 1970s
“You never had to tell them what to play,” Crosby said. “You sang them a song and got the (expletive) out of the way.”
“I’d listen to a song and see what worked. The song is the center of everything. If the song was about a friend of Jackson’s who died, you play something appropriate for that,” Lindley told Rolling Stone in a 2010 interview. “You don’t play a Chuck Berry solo in the middle of ‘Song for Adam.’ A Chuck Berry solo is a great thing, but not that for that moment.”
Guitarist David Lindley passed away but I didn’t see anyone sharing this incredible performance with Jackson Brown from 1978 doing “Running on Empty.” Amazing. pic.twitter.com/YCFfOKy3Ei— Jay Gerland (@jaygerland) March 3, 2023
Born in San Marino, California, on March 21, 1944, Lindley founded the psychedelic folk-rock group Kaleidoscope in 1966. His wife, Joanie, is the sister of bandmate Chris Darrow, the Courier reported. The group released four albums between 1966 and 1970, the newspaper reported.
Lindley formed his own band in the early 1980s, El Rayo-X, which he called “more or less a party band,” the Times reported.
Lindley is survived by his wife and their daughter, Rosanne Lindley, according to the newspaper.
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