Steve Mann (guitarist)

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Steven Mann (May 2, 1943 – September 9, 2009) was an American songwriter and guitarist.

Steve Mann (guitarist) in 1967
Steve Mann (guitarist) in 1967


Mann broke onto the West Coast music scene in the 1960s. As a student at Valley State College in Los Angeles, Mann began to perform folk music at hootenannies and Los Angeles clubs like The Ash Grove and The Troubadour. He made a number of friends on the folk music scene, including Hoyt Axton, Judy Henske, Gale Garnett, Jimmy Rubin, and Terry Wadsworth (who later joined The New Christy Minstrels). In 1962, Mann was introduced to a young singer named Janis Joplin at an open mic performance at The Troubadour. Mann began accompanying Joplin on guitar and they performed at open mics around the Los Angeles area. They stopped performing together when Mann temporarily relocated to San Francisco. A full account of Mann's association with Janis Joplin can be found at [1]. While in San Francisco, Mann also met singer/songwriter Ivan Ulz with whom he co-wrote two songs, one of which was recorded by Rod McKuen. Mann has also been linked to Margo St. James, Sonny Bono, Dr. John, Frank Zappa, and many more.

Around 1967 Mann suffered a mental breakdown and went into partial retirement. His few recordings became collector's items and his music became legendary among blues guitar aficionados. In 2003, Mann moved to Berkeley, California where he began to perform again with the help of friends Will Scarlett and Janet Smith of Bella Roma Music. In 2005, Mann released a new album on CD, Steve Mann: Alive and Pickin'. It includes re-releases of previously recorded material, including performances with Janis Joplin, as well as a new song written and performed by Mann.

In July 2009, the studio master tape of "Straight Life" was provided by John Lyon who had protected it from destruction since the 1970s. The tape has been digitized and re-released on CD by Bella Roma Music. Mann died on September 9, 2009 in Berkeley, California.


  • "Steve Mann: Alive and Pickin'", 2005, Bella Roma Music

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