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George Frayne IV (1944–2021), Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen frontman

by Linnea Crowther

George Frayne IV was a singer and pianist, the frontman for country rock band Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

Commander Cody

Frayne took on the stage name and persona of Commander Cody after co-founding the band in 1967. Their debut album, released in 1971, yielded their most popular hit, a cover of the 1955 song “Hot Rod Lincoln.” It rose to the top 10 in 1972. The band would later have moderate success with singles including “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” and “Don’t Let Go.” After 10 years with the Lost Planet Airmen, Frayne embarked on a solo career, still using the name Commander Cody. He was also a painter and videographer whose art was exhibited in museums.

Frayne on the origin of the band’s name

“I was watching the Lost Planet Airmen movie and I saw the Commander Cody character and I thought it would be a great name for a band. I had no idea anyone was going to have to be Commander Cody. I mean, there’s no Lynyrd Skynyrd. There’s no Steely Dan. There’s no Marshall Tucker. Why did there have to be a Commander Cody? That’s a long story in itself.” —from a 2005 interview for classicbands.com

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Tributes to George Frayne IV

Full obituary: Times Union

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