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David Lindley, Instrumental Virtuoso Known for Guitar Work With Jackson Browne, Dies at 78

Musician David Lindley has died aged 78 after reportedly battling illness for several months.

The founder of the El Rayo-X band played with huge names including Bob Dylan, Graham Nash, Linda Rondstadt, Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, Bonnie Raitt and Ry Cooder among others, and passed away on Friday.

Lindley was born in San Marino, Calif., on March 21, 1944. He grew up surrounded by music and began playing banjo and fiddle as a child. By his early twenties, Lindley had developed an interest in electric music and formed the psychedelic folk-rock band Kaleidoscope. The group released its debut album, Side Trips, in 1967. That same year, he worked as a session musician on Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, according to the Times.

After splitting with Kaleidoscope in 1970 following the release of four albums, Lindley joined Jackson Browne’s band, establishing himself on albums like 1973’s For Everyman, 1974’s Late for the Sky and 1977’s Running on Empty. During his time with Browne, Lindley also joined studio sessions with other notable artists during the mid-’70s, including Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, Crosby & Nash, Rod Stewart and Ry Cooder.

In the early 1980s, Lindley put his session work on hold and formed the group El Rayo-X, which went on to release two albums. Later that decade, he appeared on Bob Dylan’s Under the Red Sky, Iggy Pop’s Brick by Brick and John Prine’s The Missing Years. During the ’90s, Lindley collaborated on albums releases with avant-garde guitarist Henry Kaiser and Jordanian oud player Hani Naser. He reunited with Browne for a tour of Spain in 2006.

Lindley released his last solo album, Big Twang, in 2007. That same year, he and Kaiser scored Werner Herzog’s documentary Encounters at the End of the World.


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