He was the harmonica player Mick Jagger enlisted for a lesson, and the Doors, Patti Smith and Beck all invited on stage to perform with them in Minneapolis. The Minnesota music hero honored by both Bob Dylan and the Replacements. The writer and musicologist who penned blues tomes, magazine articles and Dylan liner notes.
To the friends and family mourning Tony Glover this week, he was also just an ultracool, storied but laid-back guy they relished hanging around.
Glover died Wednesday afternoon of natural causes after being hospitalized since May 13. He was 79.
Using the bluesman pseudonym “Little Sun,” Glover made his earliest and best-known mark on music in the early-1960s acoustic blues and folk group Koerner, Ray & Glover. The trio’s three albums for Elektra Records — especially their 1963 debut “Blues, Rags & Hollers” — were cited by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Doors, Bonnie Raitt and many more as an influence on their music.
In a 2002 interview shortly before his longtime bandmate Dave “Snaker” Ray lost a battle with cancer, Glover said, “Ragged but right; that’s what we always aimed for.”
A Minneapolis native who grew up loving Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Leadbelly alongside Ray (his classmate at University High School in Dinkytown), Glover became emblematic of the white kids whose reverence of African-American blues musicians shaped rock music.