Born: 3rd February 1935, Houston, Texas, USA.
Died: 17th May 1996, Yokohama, Japan.
Seminal electric blues & rhythm & blues guitarist of the mid-1950s, with hits like "Gangster Of Love". Performed with artists such as Little Richard and worked in synthesizer productions in the 1960s.
In later years his work was a source for sampling by artists such as Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg. He also worked on a number of recordings and projects with Frank Zappa, who cites Watson: "Watson's 1956 song, 'Three Hours Past Midnight' inspired me to become a guitarist."
Watson learned the rudiments of music on the piano as a child. He took up the guitar on the agreement with his preacher grandfather that he would not use it to 'play the blues'. His family moved to Los Angeles in the '50s and, as a teenager, he cut his teeth playing guitar, piano and singing in local LA 'jump bands'. Watson collapsed and died onstage of cardiac infarction whilst performing in Japan. Witnesses said his last words were "Ain't That A Bitch."