Meet the guitar hero you've probably never heard of

Katie Grant@kt_grant
Wednesday 27 August 2014 10:00
Celebrities

I don’t recognise him – is he with the band?

The unknown guitar hero, credited with influencing Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, performed a gig last night in a move that could see him achieve the commercial success that has eluded him for decades.

Aged 75, Raymond Ronald “Wizz” Jones took to the stage at The Lexington in north London last night, ahead of the Independent Music Awards, which take place next week.

Better late than never…

The acoustic guitarist, singer and songwriter, who lives in Balham, south-west London, has been performing since the late 1950s and has released 20 solo records, most of them independently.

Despite working with many notable musicians, the folk singer has not achieved anywhere near the level of fame some of his protégés have; the Scottish guitarist Bert Jansch once said of Mr Jones: “I think he’s the most underrated guitarist ever”.

Why has he never hit the big-time?

Mr Jones claims he doesn’t have personality for it: he has a reputation for being a “musician’s musician”.

In 2012 Bruce Springsteen opened his sold-out Wrecking Ball concert in Berlin with Mr Jones’s song “When I Leave Berlin” – though he failed to mention the name of the man who penned the track.

Keith Richards has previously discussed skipping classes at art school in order to meet up with Mr Jones, who taught him how to play blues guitar in the toilet, and Rod Stewart claims that the two travelled together in the early 1960s.

However, while many people would be shouting from the rooftops about their famous connections, Mr Jones has said he can’t remember meeting with either of them, though he conceded yesterday “It’s quite likely to be true”.

But now he’s stepping into the limelight?

The seasoned performer has been touring with the guitarist John Renbourn since 2012 – but it is unlikely he will begin chasing celebrity.

Speaking yesterday on Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Jones confirmed that he would be playing a show in the evening; he was invited to perform live on-air too, though he was warned that the producer would probably have to fade him out fairly shortly to make way for the sports news.

“No problem, I’m used to that,” the musician replied.

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