John “Hutch” Hutchinson, guitarist for David Bowie, has died

John Hutchinson
(Image credit: John Hutchinson Official Website)

Jazz guitarist and David Bowie collaborator John "Hutch" Hutchinson has passed away in hospital after a prolonged period of illness.

The news was confirmed by the official David Bowie Twitter page on Sunday (July 25), which posted a statement that read, “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of John Hutchinson who passed in hospital yesterday after a long illness.

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“John was described as ‘a semi-retired and little-known jazz guitarist and a veteran of three important David Bowie bands for seven years between 1966 and 1973.'”

After making a name for himself performing with a handful of bands such as The Tennesseans and The Dave Kirby Five supporting the likes of Little Richard and Gene Vincent, Hutchinson auditioned in 1966 to join the band of an at-the-time unknown British artist by the name of David Bowie.

The audition was the start of a prosperous professional relationship between the pair, with the late jazz guitarist being invited by Bowie to David Bowie and the Buzz during a residency at the Marquee Club.

Later, in 1968, the pair joined forces to record the original demo version of Bowie’s smash hit Space Oddity, which was finally shared in 2009 as part of a special re-released version of David Bowie’s 1969 self-titled record.

The initial recording, which you can listen to below, sees Hutchinson takes on acoustic guitar duties, as well as the vocal part responsible for singing, "Ground control to Major Tom."

After reuniting with Bowie in 1973, the pair launched their final collaborative project together, with Hutchinson accompanying Bowie on his Spiders from Mars Aladdin Sane tours of the US, Japan and the UK as 12-string guitarist.

Life after Bowie for the jazzman saw him launch a prolific solo career, with his Newcastle-based America Echoes group going on to achieve notable critical success with their debut single, Ooh Las Vegas.

In 2014, John Hutchinson released his memoir Bowie & Hutch, which chronicled his musical career with the legendary pop artist.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.