Honoring Michael Hendley

There are few words I can think of to describe what the music world just lost, but I want to try to do this with all respect because respect is certainly due. We lost a very friendly, nice guy. We lost a man who did what so many who attempt to enter the music field do not do – he learned his craft. There are people who play instruments – some who are very good, some who excel – but there is another level very, very few ever achieve, and most of us can’t even comprehend. If you were acquainted at all with Mike Hendley, then you know he was a guitarist. If you got to hear him play in a commercial setting for any event, you may have determined that he was pretty good. But I want to explain in the most simple way I can that Mike Hendley was, without any exaggeration or embellishment about his gifts, the most extraordinary guitarist I have ever known.

His genius on the guitar was best suited for jazz but he could scare any country guitarist off the stage, if he had wanted to, but then he could turn around and throw a blues lick at you that would make your Mama cry. Rock and roll was child’s play for someone with Mike’s abilities. I know all of this because I have been on stage with him off and on for 40 years and have heard him do all those things, and then sit in a motel room on the road somewhere, late at night, pick up his guitar and just as casually as you would take a breath, he would play the most complex, incredibly fast, amazingly accurate jazz lick – something only a handful of players in the world could play.

Mike’s life had demons in it. That is the truth. Those who knew him know that, but oh, his music was extraordinary. There is a sadness now, because he left too soon. There is less music in the world because he is gone, but there is joy in Heaven, and I am absolutely certain Mike has found a gig up there already. I hope St. Peter likes jazz and fast licks.

Mike was my friend, my brother, and I will do what I can to see that his music – the soul and spirit of Mike Hendley – lives on. I will continue to add other recordings to this website, as I put them together. As long as those of us who were blessed to know him and enjoy his musical gifts, come here to listen from time to time, he will still be with us. Pass on the information of this website to others so they can enjoy a little of Mike’s magic. The music, and the love never dies.

Danny Burgess

Note: If you have songs or pictures of Michael, please email them to me at danraye57@gmail.com and I will post them to the website.

Michael’s Solo Performances

Testimonials and Stories

I have attached a picture with Mike with the John Tyler stage band at the 1972 competition at Texas Tech.

Two strings broke on Mikes guitar 5 minutes before we performed. With only 4 strings Mike played his version of yesterday. Crowd went crazy and Mike won best musician. I was really in awe of the talent this man possessed and took many a ride in his Gia crammed with amps.

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