JOHN McLAUGHLIN (born 4 January 1942 in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England), also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English jazz and jazz fusion guitarist and composer. He played with Tony Williams' group Lifetime and then with Miles Davis on his landmark electric jazz-fusion albums In A Silent Way, Bitches Brew, and Jack Johnson. His 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused eclectic jazz and rock with eastern and Indian influences.
McLaughlin has been cited as a major influence on many generations from the '70s and '80s fusion guitarists, prominent players such as Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, Mike Stern, Al Di Meola, Pebber Brown and Scott Henderson. His influence did not stop in the 80's, as hardcore punk guitarist Greg Ginn of Black Flag cited Birds of Fire by The Mahavishnu Orchestra which inspired him to record more progressive guitar work and even record instrumental songs. According to Pat Metheny, McLaughlin has changed the evolution of the guitar during several of his periods of playing. In an interview with Downbeat, Chick Corea remarked that "...what John McLaughlin did with the electric guitar set the world on its ear. No one ever heard an electric guitar played like that before, and it certainly inspired me. John's band, more than my experience with Miles, led me to want to turn the volume up and write music that was more dramatic and made your hair stand on end". In 2010, Jeff Beck called him "the best guitarist alive".