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Terry Kath

American musician and songwriter

Died when: 31 years 357 days (383 months)
Star Sign: Aquarius


Terry Kath

Terry Alan Kath (January 31, 1946 – January 23, 1978) was an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, best known as a founding member of the rock band Chicago.

He played guitar and sang lead vocals on many of the band's early hit singles.He has been praised by his bandmates and other musicians for his guitar skills and Ray Charles–influenced vocal style, and was said to be one of Jimi Hendrix's favorite guitarists.

Growing up in a musical family, Kath took up a variety of instruments in his teens, including the drums and banjo.

He played bass in a number of bands in the mid-1960s, before settling on the guitar when forming the group that became Chicago.

His guitar playing was an important component of the group's sound from the start of their career.He used a number of different guitars, but eventually became identified with a Fender Telecaster fitted with a single neck-position humbucker pickup combined with a bridge position angled single-coil pickup and decorated with numerous stickers.

Kath struggled with health issues and drug abuse towards the end of the 1970s.He died in January 1978 from an unintentional self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The bereavement tempted Chicago to disband, but they ultimately decided to resume as is signified by their memorial song "Alive Again".

To commemorate his musicianship, they issued the 1997 album The Innovative Guitar of Terry Kath.In 2016, Kath's daughter Michelle Sinclair released the documentary The Terry Kath Experience, which chronicles his life and Chicago's early years.

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