(left, Roy Buchanan, 1939-1988)
American Guitar Genius died Because
of Draconian Domestic Violence Laws
by Ken Adachi
I might mention in this vein the story of Roy Buchanan, one of the finest natural-born, unschooled electric guitarist in American history. He was a magnificent player, all soul, musical precision, and beauty, yet he didn't know one damn thing about formal note reading or musical notation. He did it all by eye, ear and natural inclination.
He was a homebody 98% of the time, but once in a while, he went out to drink. He came home one night in August 1988 and he was a little tanked up and had an argument with his wife.
She got upset and called the cops to teach him a lesson - unknown to him at the time. However, by the time the cops arrived at his home, he had already left on foot and was walking along a country road.
So the cops go looking for him. They find him walking and arrest him even though the wife made no charges against him. They take him to the police station and the next day, the cops reported that he was found hanging in his jail cell.
His wife nearly went out of her mind when she found out because she loved him so much -they had kids - and bitterly regretted having called the cops over something as minor as a shouting match.
Roy didn't commit suicide in jail. He was murdered by those cops and they covered it up to make it LOOK like a hanging suicide. I'm sure Roy was outraged that they arrested him because he didn't do anything to merit arrest. He wasn't the criminal type. He was a gentle person. He didn't hit his wife, They just had a verbal argument and nothing more. He must have told the cops off and was probably complaining loudly in that jail cell and they just killed him. What a tragedy. The guy was a beautiful guitarist.
This is Roy in a 1976 concert playing Patsy Cline's haunting hit, Sweet Dreams. It embodies the essence of his musical genius and his ability to pierce the heart directly, much as did the Great Patsy Cline herself, who also tragically died far too young, at the height of her vocal prowess.