Chris Spedding

One of Britain's most versatile session guitarists, Chris Spedding had a long career on two continents that saw him tackle nearly every style of rock & roll to come down the pike, as well as sporadically attempting a solo career. The fact that he never quite broken through to stardom, except in his native England and parts of Europe, and in professional music circles, is more a result of bad timing and worse luck than any lack of talent or commitment on his part. Spedding was born in Sheffield, England, in 1944. His family moved to Birmingham in the mid-'50s, by which time he had already taken up music, playing the violin in his school orchestra. That all changed when he discovered rock & roll, initially with Bill Haley & His Comets and later Elvis Presley. According to Chris Welch in a 2004 article, Spedding began to strum his violin like a guitar, and the Rubicon had been crossed. He was proficient on several instruments, including the piano (and could also sight-read) thanks to his music lessons, which put him several cuts above the typical aspiring rock & roller of the time, who might not have known three chords. Like Ellis McDaniel (aka Bo Diddley) before him, who'd traded in the violin for a six-string, the guitar was the vehicle through which Spedding chose to express himself.