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‘Spider’ John Koerner, Blues Guitarist Who Mentored Bob Dylan, Dies At 86

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Blues guitarist “Spider” John Koerner, best known for mentoring the iconic American musician Bob Dylan, passed away this week at the age of 85.

Unlike many musicians, Koerner did not start playing the guitar until he was studying aeronautical engineering at the University of Minnesota. After picking it up quickly, John left college to begin touring.

After establishing himself in Minnesota and collaborating with popular artists such as Tony Glover, Dave Ray, and Willie Murphy, he became a regional fixture in folk and blues music.

It was because of this that when Bob Dylan traveled to Minnesota, Koerner was the first musician that Dylan connected with, which would end up having a significant early influence on the young star.

Throughout own career, John released seven albums that which influenced such as like David Bowie and Raitt. Bonnie Raitt who even covered one of Koerner’s songs, “I Ain’t Blue.”

While the reach of his impact helped inspire several now-legendary artists, John himself remained a relatively low-keyfigure in Minneapolis, who never quite reached nationwide fame. Koerner was inducted into the Minnesota Music Academy Hall of Fame, as well as the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame.

A documentary detailing John’s life and work, titled “Been There … Done That,” was released in 2005.

Fans have taken to social media to posts tributes to Koerner.

Rest in peace!

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