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Man who inspired McCartney & Lennon to play the guitar dies

Paul McCartney was inspired to play the guitar by Bert Weedon Photo: Reuters

Guitarist Bert Weedon, who inspired the likes of Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, John Lennon and Brian May to play the guitar, has died at the age of 91.

The musician, who played with stars including Frank Sinatra, inspired a host of famous names to pick up the guitar with his Play In A Day books.

He had "been poorly" for a while and died at home in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, on Friday morning, his friend John Adrian said.

Guitarist Bert Weedon has died at the age of 91 Credit: PA

It is hard to imagine what life was like in those days. There was hardly any British rock music or even pop music - it all came from America, and there was hardly anyone in England that knew about the electric guitar.

Bert was one of the few people who could play a guitar and make those sounds.

Everyone from Eric Clapton to Jimmy Page, they would all say the same thing - that Bert was the first and we all loved the man.

– Brian May, Queen

Tributes also poured into Twitter, including a message on behalf of Marshall Amplifiers, whose founder Jim Marshall died earlier this month.

Queen's Brian May paid tribute to guitarist Bert Weedon Credit: Reuters

Weedon was born in east London and bought his first guitar in Petticoat Lane market when he was 12.

The man who became known as Mr Guitar started out playing with big bands including the hugely popular Ted Heath band, before starting on a solo career which saw him sell millions of records and notch up hits including Guitar Boogie Shuffle and Nashville Boogie.

The arrival of rock 'n' roll ended his run of hit singles, but provided him with a new role as an in-demand session man who played with stars including Cliff Richard, Adam Faith and Billy Fury.

His first Play In A Day book was published in 1957 and the books have sold in their millions.Clapton openly acknowledged his debt to Weedon, saying he had "never met a player of any consequence" who had not learned from the books.