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Dr. John (1941–2019), New Orleans music legend

by Kirk Fox

Legendary New Orleans musician Dr. John won 6 Grammys and was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dr. John was a legendary New Orleans singer and musician who was known for his lively voodoo themed stage shows where he took on the persona of “the Night Tripper.” Dr. John (born Malcolm Rebennack) combined blues, jazz, rock, pop, and boogie woogie to create his own unique musical style. The flamboyant New Orleans native was an important ambassador for the music of his hometown. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011, introduced by singer John Legend. His best known song is the 1973 Top 20 hit, “Right Place, Wrong Time,” featured in the movie “Dazed and Confused.” The guitarist-pianist-singer was an in demand session player who recorded with many artists including Frank Zappa and Van Morrison. He also toured with Ringo Starr’s All Star Band and played in “The Last Waltz,” the movie featuring the Band.

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Died: Thursday, June 6, 2019 (Who else died on June 6?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 77 from cardiac arrest.

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On seeing New Orleans struggle after Hurricane Katrina: “We’ve given the world jazz, our kind of blues, a lot of great food, a lot of great things. It’s so confusing to look at things these days.”

What they said about him: “Didn’t he ramble. One of the greatest American originals has passed. Good night, Mac. And know that the legacy of Dr. John will live forever in the streets and music halls of New
Orleans and everywhere else in this world that holds music precious.” —David Simon, TV producer and creator of the HBO show “Treme” about New Orleans

“God bless Dr. John peace and love to all his family I love the doctor peace and love.” —Ringo Starr

“The voodoo magic of Dr. John’s  swampy funk hit me like a hurricane. New  Orleans is one of the vital organs of American music. The irreplaceable, incomparable Dr. John passed away today leaving both a powerful legacy & a blue heart. RIP ” —Musician Michael Des Barres

“There was no other performer like Dr. John, and there never will be. Tonight my heart is in New Orleans.” —Ellen DeGeneres

Full obituary: Nola.com

Birthdate: November 20, 1941 (Who else was born on November 20th?)

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