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Renowned session musician David Lindley, a multi-instrumentalist known for his prolific work and collaborations throughout the 70s and 80s, has died aged 78, rolling stone confirmed. No cause of death was given.
An active musician since the 60s, Lindley was a popular session musician whose skills in playing stringed instruments like the fiddle and guitar made him a go-to collaborator for artists like Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan , Bruce Springsteen, Toto , Rod Stewart and Joe Walsh.
“The loss of David Lindley is huge,” said singer Jason Isbell writing on Twitter. “Without his influence, my music would sound completely different. I was really obsessed with his playing from the first time I heard him. The man was a giant.
Graham Nash also took to social media to pay tribute to Lindley on Friday. “One of the most talented musicians that ever lived,” Nash wrote. “David could play just about any instrument you put in front of him with incredible versatility and expression.”
Lindley would often find himself in the studio working alongside other members of The Section, a team of session musicians who shaped the sound of soft rock in the 1970s. “They were some of the most creative musicians around,” said said David Crosby, who hired Lindley in 1975. rolling stone in 2013. “You never had to tell them what to play. You sang them a song and you got out of the way.
“I would listen to a song and see what worked. The song is at the center of everything. If the song was about a friend of Jackson who died, you play something appropriate for that,” Lindley said. rolling stone in 2010. “You don’t play a Chuck Berry solo in the middle of ‘Song for Adam.’ A Chuck Berry solo is a good thing, but not at this time.
Lindley stood out among other session musicians, not only because of his playful attitude, but also because of his raw talent. Known as one of the legendary rock and roll sidemen of his era, the musician played in Browne’s band for most of the ’80s, making a name for himself beyond the studio. In return, Browne produced Lindley’s 1983 album Radiography.
Reminiscing about her time with Browne, Lindley shared the story of one of her first encounters with Rolling stone: “Jackson was playing there and I borrowed a violin and sat with him. That was the start. He liked the way it worked. Then I went to England and played with Terry Reid. Jackson came to London after the first album came out and we did a few gigs there. A friend of mine had a club in Cambridge. We played at the club and it was fun. Then it was, ‘Let’s do a group thing!’ I thought, ‘This will be fun.’
Lindley and Browne would reunite for a series of gigs: first in 2006, then again in 2010. “Why hadn’t I thought of that sooner? Take him where he doesn’t speak the language and he WILL have to leave the gig and come with you to the restaurant or club,” Browne explained in a statement in 2010, recalling his time with the musician in Spain. “This was an unexpected strategic breakthrough in a pursuit which, to a legion of friends, followers and admirers, has become known as ‘hunting down the wild Lindley’.”
Lindley has also played with James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt as well as in her own bands, including Kaleidoscope and 80s band El Rayo-X. He has toured with Hani Naser and Wally Ingram and performed on over 50 records, including his own solo releases and guest appearances on albums by Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Warren Zevon, Jimmy Barnes, and Moreover.