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Beatles, Led Zeppelin Influence Bobby Parker Dead at 76

Bobby Parker
Lionel Flusin, Getty Images

Blues rock guitarist Bobby Parker, whose iconic ‘Watch Your Step’ riff directly influenced classic songs by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many other famous artists, has died at the age of 76.

Anthony B. Rucker, a bassist who played with Parker as recently as two weeks ago, reported the news on his Facebook page. Neither a cause nor a specific date of death is mentioned.

The 1961 single ‘Watch Your Step‘ was a big hit on both sides of the Atlantic for Parker, who had previously performed alongside Bo Diddley, Sam Cooke, and Chuck Berry. The song was covered in 1966 by the Spencer Davis Group and in 1983 by Santana. The riff can also be heard quite clearly in Led Zeppelin’s ‘Moby Dick‘ and the 1964 Beatles hit ‘I Feel Fine.’ According to Classic Rock magazine, Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page even attempted to sign Parker to a record deal at one point.

“I knew there was a lack of something like that on record,” Parker says of his famous riff in a video interview. “I started playing these kind of licks around (Washington) D.C., in these clubs. And people liked that lick. So I said, ‘Wow, I’m gonna record that!”

And how did he feel about the Fab Four being influenced by his work? “I was flattered, I thought it was a cool idea. But I still had, (in the) back of my mind, (the idea) that I should have gotten a little more recognition for that.”

Next: See Other Rockers We've Lost in 2013

Learn More About Bobby Parker and ‘Watch Your Step’


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