Why Jimi Hendrix Called Chicago’s Terry Kath The Best Guitarist In The Universe

Feature Photo: Columbia Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Terry Kath was only 31 years old when he died of a gunshot wound to his head. It was an accidental shooting that occurred at the house of one of Chicago’s crew members. The band Chicago had thought about disbanding when Terry Kath passed away but eventually decided to continue.

Terry Kath has left behind a legacy of brilliant guitar playing with the band Chicago. In the late 1960s, the band Chicago did some shows with Jimi Hendrix. The legendary guitarist was blown away by Terry Kath’s guitar playing. When first hearing Terry Kath play, Jimi Hendrix was quoted as saying that he thought Terry Kath played guitar better than he did. It was later reported that Jimi Hendrix called Terry Kath the “Best Guitarist in the Universe.”

Fans and critics should take note of Jimi Hendrix’s comments about Terry Kath. We are talking about a legend in, Hendrix who has been regarded by many as the greatest guitar player of all time, pointing to Chicago’s Terry Kath as being a better player. Was Jimi Hendrix right, or was he just inspired by great musicianship? One close listen to Terry Kath’s guitar solo on Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” confirms that Hendrix was spot on. If you need further proof that Jimi Hendrix praised Terry Kath, listen to his guitar work on “Liberation.” The song is the closing track on The Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago’s debut album.

Terry Kath’s virtuoso guitar playing was never celebrated as it should have been because Terry Kath was a team player. Many of the band members in Chicago stated that Kath was more interested in delivering great albums with his band Chicago. Anyone who has grown up listening to the first five Chicago albums knows that Terry Kath delivered on his goal.

When rock critics write about the great guitarists of the classic rock era, the names Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman are always mentioned at the top. Terry Kath rarely gets a mention. That’s a shame because his solos were among some of the greatest in rock and roll history, both in the studio and on the stage. Just listen and judge for yourself.

Terry Kath, born on January 31, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, began his musical journey in 1963 with his first semi-professional band, The Mystics. He moved on to Jimmy Rice and the Gentlemen in 1965, followed by playing bass for Jimmy Ford and the Executives. Kath became the band’s leader, guiding its musical direction, while trumpeter Jimmy Ford, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, and drummer Danny Seraphine completed the lineup. However, after being dismissed from the group due to a merger with another band, Kath joined the Missing Links in 1966, recruiting Parazaider and Seraphine.

The Missing Links performed regularly in Chicago clubs and ballrooms, occasionally joined by trumpeter Lee Loughnane. When Kath’s associate James William Guercio offered him a position in the Illinois Speed Press, Kath declined, preferring guitar and lead vocals. Instead, he formed a new group with Parazaider, Seraphine, and Loughnane, soon recruiting trombonist James Pankow and keyboardist/vocalist Robert Lamm. Their band, initially called The Big Thing, gained singer and bassist Peter Cetera and moved to Los Angeles, signing with Columbia Records under the name Chicago Transit Authority.

Before his passing, Terry Kath appeared on the following Chicago albums: The Chicago Transit Authority (1969), Chicago (1970), Chicago III (1971), and Chicago at Carnegie Hall (1971). He also contributed to Chicago V (1972), Chicago VI (1973), Chicago VII (1974), Chicago VIII (1975), Chicago X (1976), and Chicago XI (1977). Posthumously, his work was featured on Chicago Presents the Innovative Guitar of Terry Kath (1997) and Chicago XXXIV: Live in ’75 (2011).

Terry Kath Guitar Playing Chicago

Buy On Amazon

Check out this great album that was released a few years ago showcasing the talent of Terry Kath and his great guitar playing.

Why Jimi Hendrix Called Chicago’s Terry Kath The Best Guitarist In The Universe article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

DMCA.com Protection Status

DON’T MISS A BEAT

Be the first to know when a new article is published

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

12 Comments

  1. Avatar Cowboy August 8, 2020
  2. Avatar Tony Williams June 25, 2021
    • Avatar JB October 30, 2023
  3. Avatar Leonis Smith July 13, 2022
  4. Avatar PôsX July 16, 2022
  5. Avatar Burt B August 4, 2022
    • Avatar Steve Crocker December 14, 2022
  6. Avatar Jack D. Bell August 30, 2022
  7. Avatar Antwan D Williams September 16, 2022
    • Avatar Steve Bowey October 11, 2022
  8. Avatar Dannie Summers May 4, 2024
    • Avatar Brian Kachejian May 4, 2024

Add Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Rock Songs About Peace
10 Most Passionate Rock Songs About Peace
Mott The Hoople Songs
Top 10 Mott The Hoople Songs
Bad Company's Best Songs
Bad Company’s Best Song On Each Of Their Studio Albums
Nancy Sinatra Songs
Top 10 Nancy Sinatra Songs
10 Best Final Albums Released By Classic Rock Artists
Our 10 Favorite Final Albums Released By Classic Rock Artists
Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time
Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time
Grateful Dead Albums
Top 10 Grateful Dead Albums
Seven Killer Metal Albums
Seven Killer Metal Albums You May Have Never Heard
REM REUNITES
R.E.M. Performs In Public For First Time In 15 Years
Eagles at the Sphere
Eagles Announce Residency at Sphere in Las Vegas For Fall 2024
Trying To Make Sense Of David Lee Roth's Cover Of 867-5309/Jenny
Trying To Make Sense Of David Lee Roth’s Cover Of 867-5309/Jenny
The Rolling Stones At Metlife Stadium 2024
The Rolling Stones 24 Tour Rocks MetLife Stadium Review 5-23-24
Kiko Loureiro Interview
Kiko Loureiro, formerly of Megadeth & Angra: 10 Albums That Changed My Life
Gilby Clarke, formerly of Guns N' Roses: 10 Records That Changed My Life
Gilby Clarke, formerly of Guns N’ Roses: 10 Records That Changed My Life
Dave Davies of The Kinks Interview
Dave Davies of The Kinks: The ClassicRockHistory.com Interview
Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life
Tommy Bolan of Warlock & Doro: 15 Albums That Changed My Life
Garbage Albums
Complete List Of Garbage Albums And Songs
Kate Bush Albums
Complete List Of Kate Bush Albums And Songs
Dead Boys Albums
Complete List Of The Dead Boys Albums And Songs
10cc Albums
Complete List Of 10cc Albums And Songs
9 Bands That Never Replaced Departed Members
Music CDs Comeback
Why Music CDs Have No Chance Of Making A Comeback
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
Classic Rock Bands Still Together But Overdue For A New Album
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
When Glam Bands Went Grunge In The 1990s
Billy Idol Rebel Yell 40th Anniversary Vinyl Review
Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Complete List Of Taylor Swift Albums And Discography
Carly Simon Hotcakes Album Review
Carly Simon’s HOTCAKES Album Still Sizzles After 50 Years
11 Tracks Of Whack Album Review
Walter Becker – 11 Tracks of Whack Album Review