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Dick Wagner: Guitar Icon

Getty Images / Photo by Cindy Ord

"A huge talent with a huge tone and huge heart. A great unsung hero."

Dick Wagner was known as "the maestro." The legendary rock guitarist, who died July 30, 2014, at the age of 71, is best known for his inventive work on lead guitar and for collaborations with rock 'n' roll greats KISS, Alice Cooper, and Lou Reed. We're paying tribute to Wagner with a look at how his fans and colleagues are remembering him, as well as a look back at some of his finest performances.

My condolences to the entire music world for the passing of Dick Wagner, especially to his wonderful friend and Dessert Dream partner, Susan Michelson.”

Al Picarelli, Birmingham, Alabama

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“Dick was a stellar player and his work with Steve Hunter on Lou Reed’s ‘Rock N Roll Animal’ is legendary. He also did great work with Alice Cooper and uncredited ghosting on [Kiss’] ‘Destroyer’ and albums by some of our contemporaries. A huge talent with a huge tone and huge heart. A great unsung hero.”

KISS member Paul Stanley

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Alice Cooper talks about meeting Dick Wagner and hiring him to be in his band in the 1970s.

Wagner plays one of his most famous guitar solos on the introduction to the song "Sweet Jane." Wagner played with Lou Reed's band for the "Rock 'n' Roll Animal Tour," and rearranged the Velvet Underground classic for that tour.

Wagner and Alice Cooper co-wrote the hit song "Only Women Bleed" in 1975. The song was one of the first rock songs speaking out against domestic violence. In this 1997 performance, Wagner plays the song with the Saginaw Bay Orchestra.