British folk guitarist Bert Jansch dead at 67

5th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

British guitarist Bert Jansch, a leading figure on the folk scene who influenced a string of modern-day rock stars, died early Wednesday aged 67 after a battle with lung cancer, his spokesman said.

Jansch died at a London hospice after being admitted to hospital several weeks ago when his health deteriorated. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

After heading to London in the 1960s and finding fame as a solo artist, Jansch formed the five-piece acoustic supergroup Pentangle. They played together for several years before Jansch returned to his solo career.

The band recently reformed and he played with them for the last time in August.

His acoustic music was an eclectic mix of styles, including blues, folk and jazz, and he became a huge influence for future musicians.

He is held in high esteem by global rock stars such as Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and Canadian star Neil Young.

But spokesman Mick Houghton said Jansch never let fame go to his head.

"I don't know anyone who had less of a sense of celebrity," said Houghton. "He was always very self-effacing and critical adulation was completely irrelevant to him."

The Scottish-born musician recorded more than 25 albums and continued working almost until his death, and one of his last recording sessions was with British rock star Pete Doherty.

Jansch hitch-hiked to London from Edinburgh and recorded his debut self-titled album in 1965, which included his best known song "Needle of Death", using borrowed guitars on a reel-to-reel tapedeck.

After releasing further albums, he formed Pentangle in 1967 with John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Danny Thompson and Terry Cox.

After the group split in 1973, Jansch continued with his solo career as well as forming another group, Conundrum, and a duo with Martin Jenkins.

His final album, "Black Swan", was released in 2006.

Jansch lived in north London with his wife, Lauren.

© 2011 AFP

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