Bob Dylan Influence Tony Glover Dies at 79
Influential blues musician Tony Glover died at the age of 79 after two weeks in the hospital, the Star Tribune reported. The harmonica player helped Mick Jagger learn to play, was an influence on Bob Dylan and worked with the Doors, Patti Smith, the Allman Brothers Band and many others.
The Minneapolis native rose to fame in the early ‘60s using the stage name Little Sun as a member of the folk trio Koerner, Ray & Glover. Their 1963 debut album, Blues, Rags and Hollers, was cited as an important work by artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bonnie Raitt. “Every time they play the lights shine,” Dylan once said of the trio.
“I learned how to play by playing along to records because there weren’t any musicians around that I knew,” Glover said in 2005. “By learning to imitate, you end up absorbing a lot of stuff. You mix it all together and, hopefully, eventually you come up with your own style.”
Listen to Koerner, Ray & Glover's 'Honey Bee'
In 1963, Dylan staged a short performance at Glover’s home, by which time they’d known each other for at least two years. “He was like one of 10, 20 people that were pretty much doing the same thing, and he was okay," Glover said in 2007. “Nothing special. When I first met him, he was just one of the guys.
"He was kind of arrogant. He had short hair and I didn't do too well with that at the time 'cause I had long hair and I didn't trust people with short hair. After we got to know each other a little better, we got along fine. … It was just the initial impression was this arrogant ‘I’m a hotshot’ kind of attitude.”
Later in the '60s, Glover became known as a radio presenter, recording interviews with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and others, and becoming a contributor to Rolling Stone, Creem and Crawdaddy. He also wrote three educational books about playing harmonica and a biography of Little Walter.
Listen to Tony Glover Interview Jimi Hendrix
He continued performing alongside Dave “Snaker” Ray until his death in 2002, and also on occasion with Spider John Koerner, the only surviving member of the trio. In 2014, Glover guested as part of the Replacements' hometown reunion show; he also appeared onstage with Beck.
His most recent musical project was his band V3. “To me, an ideal trio is piano, guitar and harp,” he said. “Our music is a mix of country and old-timey blues, American roots music. I don’t see a lot of distinction between styles. I like a Hank Williams tune as much as a Jimmy Reed tune. Any kind of music that’s done with soul and feeling is fair grist.”
Watch Koerner, Ray & Glover Perform Live