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Danny Gatton

Guitar virtuoso Danny Gatton was known for the incredibly wide stylistic range of his playing; based in rockabilly, Gatton's musical vocabulary included R&B, pop, country, rock, and jazz, all of which he could play effectively. Gatton began playing at age nine, joining his first band, the Lancers, three years later. In 1960, Gatton pursued a jazz direction when he joined the Offbeats, where pianist/organist Dick Heintze proved to be one of Gatton's biggest influences. The band broke up four years later, and Gatton moved to Nashville to get into session work; there he met Roy Buchanan, who briefly became his roommate and taught him more about his instrument of choice. Eventually, Gatton built a reputation as a top-notch guitarist around his native Washington, D.C., area through his club performances. He recorded an album with his backing band the Fat Boys titled American Music in 1975 and followed it with Redneck Jazz in 1978. The band on the latter featured steel guitarist Buddy Emmons, drummer Dave Elliott, and eventual longtime cohorts Evan Johns on vocals and rhythm guitar and John Previti on bass.

Gatton's albums led to offers from other musicians to join their bands. Lowell George extended an invitation after leaving Little Feat, but was found dead two days later. Gatton wound up touring with country singer Roger Miller and rockabilly artist Robert Gordon, giving him national exposure and a growing cult among guitar fans, who traded bootlegs of Gatton concerts. Gatton returned to Washington, D.C., to be near his friends and family while playing up and down the East Coast with several bands and doing session work. When Gatton purchased an old farmhouse in need of expensive renovations in 1988, he decided to pursue his music career more seriously. He released his first solo album since 1978 the next year, Unfinished Business, which drew notices from several guitar-oriented magazines as well as Rolling Stone. Elektra Records signed him during the summer, and he made his major-label debut in 1991 with the tremendously varied instrumental album 88 Elmira St. 1992 saw Gatton's first straight-ahead jazz album, New York Stories, recorded for none other than Blue Note. Gatton toured the nation solo for the first time in 1993 in support of Cruisin' Deuces, but its lack of success, coupled with the departure of A&R man Howard Thompson from Elektra, spelled the end of Gatton's association with the label. Gatton returned to session work to pay the bills, but sustained a further blow when rhythm guitarist Billy Windsor died of a heart attack early in 1994. Gatton collaborated with organ virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco on Relentless in May and toured Europe during the summer. Sadly, on October 4, 1994, Gatton locked himself in his garage and shot himself. He left behind no explanation. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Hot Rod Guitar - The Danny Gatton Anthology

Disc 1

1. Honeysuckle Rose

2. Harlem Nocturne

3. After Hours

8. Lappin It Up

10. Funky Mama

11. Elmira St. Boogie

12. Blues Newburg

13. Quiet Village

Disc 2

1. Funhouse

2. So Good

3. Sun Medley: Mystery Train/My baby Left Me/That's All Right

4. Cruisin' Deuce

9. Red Label


Track List: Unfinished Business

1. Cherokee

2. Lappin It Up

3. Melancholy Serenade

4. Nit Pickin

5. Sky King

6. Homage to Charlie Christian

7. Sleepwalk

8. Fingers on Fire

9. Georgia on My Mind

10. Notcho Blues


Track List: Cruisin' Deuces

1. Funhouse

2. Sun Medley: Mystery Train / My Baby Left Me / That's All Right

3. Harlem Nocturne

7. So Good

11. Cruisin' Deuce


Track List: The Humbler Stakes His Claim (Live In 1977)

1. Sweet Georgia Brown (Live)

2. Canadian Sunset (Live)

3. Nit Pickin' (Live)

4. Walkin' With Danny (Live)

5. Narlem Nocturne (Live)

6. Soul Sauce (Live)

7. Danny's Blues (Live)

8. Fingers On Fire (Live)

9. Bonus Track: Rumble / Harlem Nocturne (Live)

10. Sweet Georgia Brown (Live)


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The absolute best player to ever pick up a Telecaster. He is sorely missed.....
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This guy just rocks they hell out of good music telecaster all the way. Never heard any body pics the way he does it just blows me away.he is the best miss him.Hopewell . va
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I had the pleasure of seeing and meeting Danny many times. Besides being both guitarists we had the same interests in vintage hot rods. I had an open invitation to his house to work on cars with him. I felt it would be intruding even though he insisted it was fine. I never took him up on his hospitality and I wish I would have, He was the coolest person I've met and was talented beyond belief. He is missed greatly and hugely under appreciated.
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Just Amazing! very underrated and under appreciated. I love the way he takes lots of chances harmonically but never goes off the rails.
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I saw Danny a number of times, starting in the days of the black Les Paul with the Magic Dingus Box to The Humbler show at Berkeley Square in 1982. Amazingly nice guy and outstanding player. I have missed him every day for the last 21 years.
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Nit pickin' is amazing. Benny Hill would be proud.
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The tele king. Straight forward sound, no gimmicks, sheer genius. Endless flow of ideas. Entertainmen t and inspiration first class. Best rendition of sleepwalk ( frightening technique) ever, certainly a journey. His solos always leave me wanting more. It's amazing how he knows how to bring you right down to earth again with his endings leaving you on a complete angelic high!!!
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#1. Simply stated.
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Actually, Danny plays a telecaster
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I like music, all different kinds... Jazz, Rock, grew up on the Blues, Rockabilly, Country, Reggae AND I like the musicians who play these different types of music. I have a special place for all of them... and I have a most special place for Danny Gatton. He does it all and was so far beyond talented you just have to love him. The Master of the Stratacaster . PS. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me outside the Childe Harold in DC, I'll always remember.
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I, personally, believe his unappreciate d album, Cruisin' Deuces, was one of his best. Truly a tragic loss to all of us who appreciated his super-accomp l i s h e d playing. Miss you and your music, Danny. Sorry I only got to see you live once, but that was enough to make me a fan forever.
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Amen. How can this guy be sooooo good?! Listening to Sky King.
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This guy was simply brilliant. Such a tragic loss.
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The best music ever
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Saw him play for the first and only time in the early 90's at an outdoor summer concert series in Georgetown, I was standing up front facing the stage and turned to my buddy and said, really!, this guy is an amazing guitar player. The bio above has left out his most accomplished work, Elmira Street, which he came close to winning a Grammy for best song.
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I was also lucky enough to see him in D.C. a few times, including at the Birchmere and from the front row of the Ford Theater. He was the kind of guitarist that could make the hair on your arms stand up.
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I was one of the lucky ones who got to see Danny play live many times in the DC area. He was a great guy in addition to being a world class guitarist. He could play better with a Heineken bottle than most guys could with all their fingers. You're still missed, Danny Boy!
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DG's version of Sleepwalk is a great example of why he was nicknamed The Humbler. That guy was incredible.
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Danny changed the way I play guitar. Still learning from him. Thanks man...wish you were still around
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Incredible, I've been a fan for years and thank you pandora 4 recognizing Danny Gatton
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The best ever
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The first time I heard Danny Gatton play i got goosebumps and my hair stood up on my neck he was awsome
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professorjef f 3
Never heard of this album nor Danny Gatton, but that big ol' world of music is ..... well, big. And this is one reason why I love listening to Pandora; you never know what gems you'll stumble upon. Signed, a new fan. Peace!
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I can listen to Pretty Blue and Sky King all day long.
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Met Danny Shortly before he died. He was a regular guy. greatly Missed.
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where can i find 'redneck jazz'? had an old friend that sung on that one
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Danny,Jimi,S t e v i e Ray,God I miss um all
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He stunned people every time he played. I saw him play perfect slide as casual as could be, dangling his half full beer bottle over the top of the neck-extraor d i n a r y . Such a shame that he blew himself away-damn!
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danny gatton... played at watermelon park in berryville va .... his performance during a bluegrass concert led john miller senior (owner, proprietor) to utter one of his famous statements from the stage...cut out this kind of music or "I'll shut her down!!!!"... . of course all the hippies were certainly diggin the performance !!!!!
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Do your best to find a copy of "The Humbler" with Robert Gordon and you will never qestion the mastery of Danny again.
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lonnie_hefli n
Had a roommate in college that was an incredible guitar player. He had never heard of Danny Gatton. Finally convinced him to go see Danny at the Back Room of the Varsity Grill in College Park, MD. I could not go with him and was anxious to hear his opinion. When he came in, I asked his opinion...he took a long drag on his cigarette and said, "I've seen God!" Never have a heard a better description of Danny's playing!
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The more i listen too Danny G, the more I like him, funny he was roommates w/ Roy Buchanan.Bot h guitar Virtuoso's.
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Oh yah babay! Notcho Blues! Yeahhhaww!
Report as inappropriate y . This is the shizzle, do doubt. So clean, so creative & swingin' his a** off - you go, Danny :)
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Got to see the great once. Absolutely smokin. So sad.. He was the man.
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There is MORE!!!! Let us hear it!!! In My Room brings tears to my eyes....
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please add "Funhouse" and his other releases- what a tragic loss
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There are more releases out there- put them on, PLEASE
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Laith Al-Saadi is a terrific guitarist, songwriter and performer - and he is a huge disciple of Danny Gatton. Please give consideratio n to adding his two CD's (covering Blues, R&B, soul, chicken picking, etc.) See http://www.c d b a b y . c o m / A r t i s t / L a i t h A l S a a d i for "Long Time Coming" and "In the Round."
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The absolute Telemaster!! !
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Danny Gatton was the best electric guitarist I've ever seen. He was fantatstic with the Fatboys and I got to see him with Link Wray & Robert Gordon . What a show ! He was indeed the Master of the Telecaster !
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AWESOME!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Last night during a concert Vince Gill told a great story about going to see Danny Gatton while in DC for a gig (some of his band mates knew Danny), being pulled on stage to play a Telecaster, then being blown off the stage with a smirk from Danny. He earned the nickname "humbler" because not only was his playing incredible, but he made it look effortless while he ran all over the musical map.

The word "virtuoso" was created for guys like Danny. I was fortunate enough to see him three times,
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One of favorite albums of all time is Danny and the Fatboys recorded in the late 70's you won't be dissapointed
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leon3anderso n
rockabily lives on
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To say that Gatton could play those varied styles "effectively " is quite an understateme n t . He could play each of those styles as a virtuoso!
His playing was truly incredible - each time I saw him live my jaw just dropped and I was left in total awe.
There isn't a day that goes by in which I don't miss Danny and his amazing playing.
Spread the word and keep his music alive.

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