Mick Green: Guitarist with Johnny Kidd & the Pirates who also played alongside Paul McCartney and Van Morrison

The guitarist Mick Green didn't like to boast about his prowess as an instrumentalist, yet he was one of the most influential musicians to come out of the British Isles in the early 1960s.

While The Shadows' lead guitarist, Hank Marvin, pioneered a clean sound, Green, who joined Johnny Kidd & the Pirates in 1962, was a gutsier, louder, raunchier, more exciting kind of guitar hero.

He managed to simultaneously play blistering lead and staccato rhythm parts on his Fender Telecaster, a trademark style that would soon be emulated by The Who's Pete Townshend and Wilko Johnson of pub-rock legends Dr Feelgood, and was greatly admired by Slade frontman, Noddy Holder. Though Green became a Pirate two years after Kidd's British No. 1 "Shakin' All Over" – a mainstay of The Who's repertoire throughout the Sixties and early Seventies – his driving guitar epitomised the band's high energy, high-octane approach, on stage and on their subsequent singles, including their storming covers of Arthur Alexander's "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues" and Bo Diddley's "I Can Tell", the Top 20 singles "I'll Never Get Over You" and "Hungry for Love" – all issued in 1963 – and "Always and Ever", their last chart entry in 1964.

Green subsequently joined Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas, and later plied his trade backing Engelbert Humperdinck in Las Vegas. Kidd died in 1966, but Green reunited with the Pirates mainstays, the bassist and vocalist Johnny Spence and the drummer Frank Farley, as a back-to-basics trio a decade later. The Pirates proved a natural fit with the pub rock and the punk generation and enjoyed success with their own Out of Their Skulls album in November 1977 and the Hope & Anchor Front Row Festival, a double set documenting a three-week event at the London pub venue which also featured The Wilko Johnson Band, The Stranglers, XTC, X-Ray Spex, The Saints, 999 and Dire Straits, which was released in March 1978. Over the last three decades, Green occasionally performed with The Pirates, but also recorded and toured with Paul McCartney, Van Morrison and Bryan Ferry, an indication of the reputation and standing he enjoyed as a sideman.

Born in Matlock, Derbyshire, he grew up in Wimbledon in the same block of flats as Spence and Farley. By the mid-Fifties, the three boyhood friends had grown into teenagers, in thrall to the skiffle craze, and were eagerly trying to figure out the chords to Lonnie Donegan's chart-topping version of "Cumberland Gap". They quickly formed their own skiffle group with fanciful names such as the Wayfaring Strangers and the Ramrods.

Green was the inquisitive type and backtracked from skiffle to the blues of Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters. He also studied classical guitar for 18 months. His playing was inspired by the American guitarists he admired, Chet Atkins, the Johnny Burnette sideman Paul Burlison, and especially James Burton, whose feel and sound he successfully emulated and moved on into a new era.

He was still at school when Kidd hit with "Please Don't Touch" in 1959 and "Shakin' All Over" the following year, and became a Pirate when he replaced Johnny Patto in March 1962, two months after Spence and Farley had come on board. A stint at the Star Club, the Hamburg venue where The Beatles had honed their craft, helped the powerhouse trio to develop a near-telepathic understanding and Green blossomed as they opened with their own 15-minute set before backing Kidd, the swashbuckling front man, who wore an eye-patch and used a cutlass on stage.

"We didn't have a rhythm guitarist and our sound needed filling out," Green said of his distinctive and pioneering approach to his instrument. "You can only play that way with a trio, you can't play like that with another guitar or a piano. It's achieved by bashing out the chords loudly and twiddling around with the things. It's quite an easy thing to do; there's nothing magical about it."

This line-up lasted two and a half years and appeared all over the UK, including at the Cavern in Liverpool, and topped the bill over The Beatles at a Liverpool Riverboat Shuffle event held aboard the Royal Iris on the Mersey in August 1962. The Pirates also issued their own single, pairing "My Babe" and "Casting a Spell", but after the "Jealous Girl" single flopped in August 1964, Green left for Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas. He played on their 1965 hit "Trains and Boats and Planes" and co-wrote its B-side, "That's the Way I Feel", and several more tracks, and recorded two Kramer-less singles with The Dakotas in 1967 before backing Billy Fury for a spell.

The guitarist's lengthy tenure with Humperdinck started in 1968. It brought steady income for the newly married Green, as well as the occasional side benefit, like meeting Elvis Presley in Vegas, but it was creatively unfulfilling. In 1974, he formed the band Shanghai with the Thunderclap Newman songwriter John "Speedy" Keen, and they released two albums and supported Status Quo on tour in 1976. By then, Dr Feelgood, named after the Piano Red song covered by The Pirates, had become all the rage. They had included "Oyeh!", the Green instrumental first recorded by the Dakotas, on Down by the Jetty, their 1975 debut. "The first time I heard the Feelgoods on the radio, I really thought it was us," he remarked in 1977. "Fine, so the Feelgoods made it by using many of the things that the Pirates developed. That's great and shows how valid our approach always has been."

Green and Johnson became friends and co-wrote "Going Back Home" which became a high point of the Feelgoods' set and was included on both Malpractice, their 1975 follow-up, and Stupidity, their 1976 No. 1 live album. Johnson pestered Green to reform The Pirates and the guitarist eventually relented. Planned as a one-off event at Dingwalls in London, the reunion attracted rave reviews and became permanent as the group upstaged Eddie and the Hot Rods at the Roundhouse. They signed to Warners, recorded Out of Their Skulls live at the Nashville in London and at Rockfield Studios in Wales with Feelgoods producer Vic Maile, and toured the UK and continental Europe. Their mix of the covers and originals which had constituted their Sixties repertoire, plus new compositions like "Don't Munchen It" and the guitar ode "Gibson Martin Fender" went down a storm, and they recorded a second album entitled Skull Wars. As they had done with Kidd, they wore thigh-high boots and other piratical garb and inspired the look Adam Ant sported at the dawn of the Eighties.

Another fallow period followed and Green made do with accompanying Freddie Starr, getting the occasional opportunity to shine as the comedian impersonated Presley and other rock stars.

Given Green's pedigree as one of the originators of British rock'n'roll, it was fitting that McCartney recruited the guitarist to make the Ñíîâà â ÑÑÑÐ/CHOBA B CCCP album of rock'n'roll covers originally conceived as a USSR-only release in 1988. Eleven years on, when McCartney revived the idea for Run Devil Run, and added three of his own compositions to another dozen rock'n'roll classics, Green headed a stellar cast of sidemen including the Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, and keyboardist Pete Wingfield of "Eighteen With a Bullet" fame. In December 1999, they even played a landmark gig at The Cavern in Liverpool which was webcast and issued on video and DVD.

Indeed, the last decade saw Green in great demand, as he toured with Morrison and participated in the recording of six of the vocalist's studio albums, starting with Back on Top in 1999 and including the Top Ten albums Down the Road (2002), Magic Time (2005), Pay the Devil (2006) and Keep it Simple (2008). He also contributed to the Ferry solo albums Frantic (2002) and Dylanesque (2007), and performed with him as well, though he suffered a heart attack while in New Zealand in 2004. Farley retired from The Pirates in 2006, but Green and Spence released the Skullduggery album the following year.

"I enjoy all gigs. If I didn't really enjoy the playing, I wouldn't be doing it," Green said in 2004.

Michael Robert Green, guitarist and songwriter: born Matlock, Derbyshire 22 February 1944; married Karen (two sons); died Ilford, Essex 11 January 2010.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Year 1 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: The Job An inner city Birmingham sc...

Year 2 Teacher - Maternity cover

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Luton: Year 2 maternity cover, startin...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments