The Greatest Unknown Guitar Player

Birth Name:
Leroy Buchanan
Birth Date:
September 23, 1939
Birth Place:
Ozark, Arkansas
Death Date:
August 14, 1988
Place of Death:
Fairfax County Jail, 4000 Chain Bridge Road, Fairfax, Virginia
Cause of Death:
Suicide - hanging (disputed)
Cemetery Name:
Columbia Garden Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Roy Buchanan was an blues guitarist and a pioneer of the Telecaster sound, Buchanan worked as a sideman and as a solo artist, with two gold albums early in his career and two later solo albums that made it to the Billboard chart. Guitar Player praised him as having one of the "50 Greatest Tones of All Time." Sweet Dreams, released in 1972, remains the finest moment in the career of the man who was damned with the accolade ‘the guitarist’s guitarist’. Lauded by the likes of Jeff Beck, Gary Moore (who covered the blues-rock thriller The Messiah Will Come Again) and, more recently, Joe Bonamassa, Buchanan never attained any real fame or fortune during his lifetime. These days he’s as infamous for apparently turning down an offer to join the Rolling Stones and his mysterious death in a Virginia jail cell in 1988 as he is for his music. Yet Buchanan’s legacy as a guitarist punches way above that of many of the rock stars who held him in such high regard.

Was Roy Buchanan Murdered?

At Buchanan’s funeral, one former band member recalled that Judy opened the coffin for them. His face was full of bruises, leaving little doubt that the officers beat him to death, and then covered it up. An autopsy showed circular bruising on the top of his head indicating a beating and physical abuse had taken place.

It is important to note that several suspicious deaths declared a suicide happened both before and after Buchanan’s mysterious death. None of these deaths were ever investigated.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Columbia Garden Cemetery

3411 Arlington Blvd

Arlington, Virginia, 22201


North America


Map of Columbia Garden Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia
Map of Columbia Garden Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia

Grave Location:

Section C

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery veer left at the fork in the road and then turn left onto Azalea Road at Oak Hill Road. Drive 300 feet to the black marble bench on the left and park in front of the Hilleary monument. Walk to the top of the hill and look to the right for the black marble monument that indicates the final resting place of Roy Buchanan.

Grave Location GPS

38.872790, -77.099661

Visiting The Grave:



Read More About The Greatest Unknown Guitar Player:

Videos Featuring The Greatest Unknown Guitar Player:

See More:

Janis Joplin

popular name: Janis Joplin

date_of_death: October 4, 1970

age: 27

cause_of_death: Drug overdose - heroin

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: A permanent member of the "27 Club" (rock stars who died at age 27) Janis Joplin was premier white female blues vocalist of the 1960s, who performed with a fierce and uninhibited musical style before dying of a drug overdose in a Hollywood hotel. And despite her limited artistic output, she will forever be known as rock 'n' roll's first female superstar.

Blind Lemon Jefferson

popular name: Blind Lemon Jefferson

date_of_death: December 19, 1929

age: 36

cause_of_death: Acute myocarditis (disputed)

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: Neglected and ignored until recently by his own home state, Blind Lemon Jefferson is nonetheless revered internationally as a seminal figure in the history of the blues with 89 classic blues songs recorded in just 4 years time.

Del Shannon

popular name: Del Shannon

date_of_death: February 8, 1990

age: 55

cause_of_death: Self-inflicted gunshot wound

claim_to_fame: Music

best_know_for: His heyday as a chart-friendly star in the U.S. may have been brief, but on the strength of his biggest hit "Runaway" Del Shannon deserves to be regarded as a rock and roll legend. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Back to Top