Salwitz was born in New London, Connecticut. He attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute, in Worcester, Massachusetts, where he met John “J.” Geils and Danny Klein and became a founding member of the J. Geils Band in 1965. Salwitz’s harmonica playing became a major and distinctive element in the J. Geils Band’s sound during their hard-rocking 1970s heyday. His performance of “Whammer Jammer” on the band’s live album Full Househas been particularly noted. In The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1979), music critic Dave Marsh described Salwitz as possibly “the best white musician to ever play blues harmonica.” He was often referred to as “Magic Dick and his Lickin’ Stick”.
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