David Williams, Guitarist with Michael Jackson, Madonna

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David Williams at the Malibu Film Festival, courtesy of the Williams Family

I was sorry to read the news about David Williams this morning in the NY Post (“Madge Guitarist’s Grim Death”).  According to the Post, the lifelong sideman with some of the top names in the business died without health insurance, at Sentara Hospital in Virginia, of complications from high blood pressure.

Updated, July 2009: RIP Michael Jackson

David Williams’ picture (at right) was supplied by his family, who conveyed this message:

“His immediate family, being his 4 daughters and ex-wife (his best friend) have only love for all and wish nothing but unity and joyful memories to be shared by all.

I originally wrote the following tirade about health insurance and how the country treats people without means, assuming that the NY Post article was accurate:

“I believe the quotes from Williams’ wife who said the hospital treated her callously.  More and more often, I find that “the system” not only favors those who can afford to pay, but actually disfavors those who can’t or are “on the edge.”  We can assume the sad scenario of a hospital telling family members to “pull the plug” due financial hardship is being played out thousands of times daily across the country.

Another example of the moral decay of America.   When did it become ok for corporations to abuse people? RIP David Williams, your music will live forever. It will be hard not to think about his demise as I hear some of the records — happy, funky music that now has a tinge of the blues.”

David Williams played on countless records and was an exceptional rhythm guitar player.  His most famous moment was the “clean” guitar solo on Michael Jackson’s breakthrough “Billie Jean,” including one of its most indelible performances, on the Motown 25 TV Special. On numerous records, we have listened to David Williams many, many times.

In an effort to celebrate the man who hit the guitar with such distinction, let’s check out a great video.

David Williams solo on “Billie Jean” with Michael Jackson “moonwalking”:

The bottom line remains the same, David Williams was a great musician who left us far too soon.  My condolences to his family, friends and fans around the world.

David Williams Final Arrangements

Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Family Viewing 10 am
Public Viewing 12-6pm
Cooke Brothers Funeral Chapel
1601 27Th Street
Newport News, Virginia 23607
Phone: 757-380-0251

Thursday, March 12, 2009
Funeral 11am
Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple
3100 Butternut Drive
Hampton, Virginia 23666
Phone: 757-896-6050

Procession To Follow
Cemetery Location
Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veteran’s Cemetery
5310 Milners Road
Suffolk, Virginia 23434

21 Gun Salute and Military Honors
Plot Location to be assigned day of burial.

David Williams Discography

Michael Jackson’s Motown 25 Performance of “Billie Jean”:

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