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Guitarist DICK WAGNER Dead At 71

By Larry Petro, News Monkey
Thursday, July 31, 2014 @ 2:16 PM


Formerly Played With ALICE COOPER And Others

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Michigan-bred guitarist Dick Wagner, who formerly worked with ALICE COOPER, THE FROST, LOU REED among others, has passed away in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 71.

Wagner succumbed to respiratory failure at Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, where he had been in intensive care for the past two weeks following a cardiac procedure. The guitarist had famously overcome a series of medical issues during the past decade, retraining himself on guitar after a stroke paralyzed his left arm. He re-emerged to begin recording, writing and performing gigs, including a triumphant homecoming concert at the Magic Bag in November 2011.

Wagner was born in Iowa, moved with his family to Waterford as a child, and later settled in Saginaw. He was a key figure in southeastern Michigan’s emergent rock scene in the 1960s, a go-to guitarist who made his name with the BOSSMEN and THE FROST.

ALICE COOPER eventually recruited him for the 1975 album Welcome To My Nightmare, and went on to A-list session work with the likes of Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel and Rod Stewart. Rock lore has long held that Wagner was a secret hired hand on albums by several high-profile bands.

“He was just a humble and talented guy, and I think that's why Jack Douglas and those guys loved him — he was just this consummate pro,” said Brian Pastoria, a Detroit musician and studio operator who worked with Wagner in recent years. “I think Dick Wagner took Alice to another level in his career. He was already the showman at that point, but musically he had to show that he really had it.”

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