Inducted: December 3, 2019
Born in Sioux City, Iowa, on August 1, 1951, Tommy Richard Bolin was arguably the best guitarist to find a home in the Colorado music scene of the 1970s. When Bolin died of an overdose in 1976, he was on a career path that would have taken him to icon status, with a style that incorporated jazz fusion, rock and elements of pop. His credits include two albums with Zephyr, two solo albums and two albums with Joe Walsh’s former band, the James Gang; he also collaborated with jazz drummer Billy Cobham on his seminal album, Spectrum, and replaced Ritchie Blackmore in the number-one psychedelic-rock band of the late ’60s, Deep Purple. But those are household names of the time. What’s less well known is the work that Bolin did with other amazing guitarists, such as Jeff Beck and Albert King, and musicians in bands like Energy and Tommy Bolin’s Dreamers, which included brother Johnnie (a member of Black Oak Arkansas for thirty years), bassist Stanley Sheldon (a longtime member of Peter Frampton’s band), drummer Bobby Berge, vocalist Jeff Cook and singer/keyboardist Max Carl (a founding member of Jack Mack and the Heart Attack, later with 38 Special and Grand Funk Railroad).