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Legendary Session Guitarist Hugh McCracken Dies

Hugh McCracken
Elliott Randall, Facebook

Renowned guitarist and session musician Hugh McCracken has passed away. The musician, producer and arranger, who was a fixture of the New York recording scene, was an in-demand player for decades, performing on recordings by Paul Simon, John Lennon, Billy Joel, B.B. King, Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan, to name but a few of an enormous list of credits.

According to, McCracken died of leukemia. In the mid-’60s McCracken played in a North Jersey nightclub band called the Funatics. By the latter part of the decade he had established himself in the studio scene, playing on sessions with Laura Nyro and B.B. King. By 1971 he was playing with Paul McCartney on the sessions for ‘Ram,’ and in fact, he was so in demand as a studio gun that he turned down McCartney’s offer to join a new band he was forming, Wings.

He went on to play on a dizzying array of classic albums including Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ and ‘One Trick Pony,’ Lennon’s ‘Double Fantasy,’ Joel’s ‘The Stranger,’ and ‘Gaucho’ by Steely Dan.

Fellow session legend Elliott Randall posted the following message to his Facebook page Friday (March 29):

It is with unspeakable sadness that I share with you the passing of one of the greatest friends and greatest guitarists/musicians who ever graced this planet. I am truly privileged to have known this man throughout all of my adult life. See ya on the other side, Hugh McCracken…

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2013


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