(born Lonnie McIntosh
, July 18, 1941, Dearborn County, Indiana) is an American rock, blues, and country guitarist and vocalist.In 1963 and early 1964 he recorded a succession of full-length electric guitar instrumentals that combined blues stylism with fast-picking techniques and a rock beat. The best-known of these are "Memphis", "Wham!", and "Chicken Pickin'". These instrumentals preceded the emergence of major rock guitar soloists such as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix in the late 1960s, and established the standard of virtuosity for a generation of rock guitarists. They are also said to have formed the leading edge of the "blues rock" lead guitar genre. The pitch-bending tremolo arm found on some electric guitars reportedly became known as the "whammy bar" in recognition of Mack's aggressive, rapid manipulation use of the device in 1963's Wham!
"In 1979, music historian Richard T. Pinnell called 1963's "Memphis" a "milestone of early rock guitar". In 1980 the editors of Guitar World
magazine ranked "Memphis" first among rock's top five "landmark" guitar recordings. Mack is widely regarded today as a pivotal historical figure in expanding the role of the electric guitar in rock.Mack is regarded by some critics as one of the finer early "blue-eyed soul" singers. Crediting both Mack's R&B vocals and his guitar solos, music critic Jimmy Guterman ranked Mack's first album, 1963's The Wham of that Memphis Man!
, No. 16 in his book The 100 Best Rock 'n' Roll Records of All Time
. He released several singles in the 1950s and 1960s as well as thirteen original albums spanning a variety of genres between 1963 and 1990. He enjoyed his greatest recognition as a blues-rock singer-guitarist, with especially productive periods during the 1960s and the latter half of the 1980s. Mack switched musical genres and idled his career as a rock artist for lengthy periods, due to an aversion to notoriety and a preference for simple country living.In 2011 he announced an upcoming self-published album of informally recorded compositions, including the recently released acoustic blues single "The Times Ain't Right". Beyond his career as a solo artist, Mack recorded with The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, James Brown, Freddie King, Joe Simon, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Dobie Gray and the sons of blues legend Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, among others.