Keith Levene, a founding member of The Clash and later guitarist for Public Image Ltd, has died aged 65, his close friend has said.
Author Adam Hammond said Levene, who died on Friday, was one of the most influential guitarists of all time. Levene founded The Clash with Mick Jones in the 1970s but left before they became successful. He then joined Public Image Limited, the post-punk band set up by John Lydon after he left the Sex Pistols.
Hammond said his friend had been living with liver cancer for two years, but his death had been unexpected.
Hammond, announced the news on Twitter, writing: “It is with great sadness I report that my close friend and legendary Public Image Limited guitarist Keith Levene passed away on Friday 11th November.
“There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time.”
“Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators, John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that.
“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound. So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith’s work”Tweet
“His guitar work over the nine minutes of Theme, the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be.”
“As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound.
“So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith’s work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not.
“He had so many plans – there were so many things he was doing,” Hammond said.
Levene had just completed a book about Public Image Limited, co-written with Hammond, and had been working on music to accompany it.
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