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Five Iconic Moments to Remember the Legendary Beverly “Guitar” Watkins

October 1, 2019
Written by
Fabi Reyna
Written by
She Shreds Staff
Cover image by
Kelley Raye

She Shreds looks back on some of the most unforgettable moments of Beverly “Guitar” Watkins—a pioneer not to be forgotten.

Today we lost one of the greats.

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, the legendary blues guitarist, passed away at 80 years old. From her beginnings with Piano Red to her work with James Brown and Aretha Franklin, Watkins was a pioneer of women guitarists. She never slowed down despite health issues, or the ever-disheartening music industry of the 20th century—and in 2016, she spoke to us about these experiences in an interview detailing her past and future.

Below we’ve gathered our top five favorite iconic moments of Watkins career, to honor her perseverance and unparalleled shredding.

The iconic album cover of her 1999 full length release, Back In Business. (Seriously though, it’s perfect.)

When she told CNN in a 2015 interview that she had suffered a heart attack after a performance, and then learned that she had lung cancer. She beat both and was soon back on stage.

Photo by John Thomas Collins

“[I’ll keep playing] until I can’t play no more. Something happens, they’ll have to put me in a wheelchair and roll me up on stage, because I’m a dedicated musician.”

Her unwavering dedication to the timelessness of tradition and music is quite frankly unmatched.

The pioneering path she paved as a woman playing guitar in the 1950s and 1960s through national performances with Piano Red and Dr. Feelgood and the Interns.

And last but not least, the classic shredding-behind-your-head-at-80-years-old move.

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