DOBIE GRAY R.I.P. ROCK IN PERPETUITY!

December 8, 2011

Although I haven’t seen Dobie Gray in many years, I was especially saddened to hear of his passing. He was the kind of person you can’t forget.

I first met him in 1965 at the Goldbug, a night club in NYC’s Greenwich Village, where he was appearing shortly after “THE IN CROWD” became a hit.. We spent a little time talking about the differences between East Coast vs. West Coast music, I gave him a demo of one of my songs, and then I left. About six months later I ran into him up at Billboard magazine, and was shocked that he not only remembered my name, but he remembered the title of the song I gave him!

As years passed, through “DRIFT AWAY”and beyond, we stayed in touch. The last time I saw him was when he opened at the WHISKEY-AU-GO-GO with his new group Pollution featuring Tata Vega. I thought he had a smash with “THE NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN”, but it was never to be.

So many artists have been influenced by Dobie’s style and phrasing, it’s time to honor the original. I think we all should re-examine Dobie Gray’s body of work, I’m sure we’d all be surprised at the undiscovered gems we’d find.

Dobie Gray, may you ROCK IN PERPETUITY

Respectfully, Artie Wayne  http://artiewayne.com

CLICK HERE TO WATCH DOBIE ON SHINDIG” DOING “THE IN CROWD” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOWO--z1S8A

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL MUSIC VIDEO OF “DRIFT AWAY” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIuyDWzctgY

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DOBIE AND THE FINAL ARRANGEMENTS BEING MADE GO TO HIS WEBSITE http://dobiegray.com/

Copyright 2011 by Artie Wayne https://artiewayne.wordpress.com/about-artie-wayne/

NOW YOU CAN BUY MY NEW BOOK ,“I DID IT FOR A SONG” AT AMAZON or Barnes & Noble or from Smashwords

TO READ A CHAPTER OR TWO FOR FREE CLICK  HERE

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5 Responses to “DOBIE GRAY R.I.P. ROCK IN PERPETUITY!”

  1. Alan Says:

    Artie,
    I met first Dobie Gray early in 1962. I was playing keyboard & singing in a 4 piece group called “The Archers”, after it’s leader, movie actor & guitarist Arch Hall Jr. Dobie was coming off two successful singles, “Look At Me” and “I’m In With The In Crowd” & was looking for a backup band. We all became friends, and actually lived & worked together for a time at a business/apartment complex on Olive Ave in Burbank. Our band backed Dobie at several venues, from a club called Shap’s in Pasadena to Pandora’s Box in Hollywood. Those were wild, fun days. His talent was amazing & his personality was delightful & crazy, but always professional on stage. And when he cut his next single, produced by Fred Darian, he used our band & sang one of my original songs for the “B” side! “Funky Funky Feeling” was far from a hit, but my pal Dobie was the first major artist to record my work as a musician & songwriter. All of this long before his biggest hit, “Drift Away” in 1973. (Arch Jr. had recorded my tune “Yes I Will”, with the “B” side “Wild Guitar Theme”, & performed them in the 1962 movie “Wild Guitar”, produced by Nicolas Merriweather, alias Arch Hall Sr.)

    Fast forward to the mid 80’s: I re-connected with Dobie, who was now living in Nashville, TN, on a visit there. We picked up our friendship & stayed in touch through the ensuing years. My wife Yuka & I began flying to Nashville together in 1998, where I would co-write, record demos, & visit new & old friends, including the always warm & gracious Mr. Gray! His success had continued as a songwriter, jingle writer, and more. He’d sometimes share the new recordings he was working on, & we tried some co-writing. He gave me a copy of his Christmas CD package. And back in L.A. in 2003 we watched him on TV singing “Drift Away” with Uncle Kracker, and were proud & excited (read: slightly envious) about his career longevity.

    In 2010, after years of flying back & forth from LA, Yuka & I bought a home in Brentwood, TN. From 1998 until the present, Dobie has been a loving touchstone in our lives. He adored Yuka, & in Southern fashion christened her “Yuka Mae”.
    With his friends Bud Reneau & Robin Blakeney, Dobie attended my housewarming & birthday party that October. He was a little frail, I think he mentioned an issue with gout. A year earlier he had also visited my old friend Denny Martin’s home for Denny’s birthday “jam”, & surrendered to requests to sing Drift Away. Playing keyboard next to him at that moment took me back across the decades, & was an emotional highpoint of the year for me.

    These last few months of 2011 were sprinkled with phone conversations, Dobie mentioning more health problems, then a long hospital visit, & him finally sharing about his liver cancer. He never let on the extent of the illness, & I thought he was improving, or at least holding his own. But there were a lot of mutual “I love you’s” in those last few calls. Friendships were precious to Dobie Gray, & his was precious to me.

    There’s a big hole in my life now. Maybe in a couple of weeks, if I’m up to it, I’ll put on his lovely Christmas CD. And just kinda drift away.

  2. scooby sorkin Says:

    i had the pleasure of playing behind Dobie in1966, and we became friends. when he lived up the street from the whiskey,i was the rock rep. for local 47, and stopping by his apt. was a part of my doing the clubs on the strip.. when he moved to nashville, it was definitely felt by his l.a. friends..his passing has taught me a life’s lesson.. when you think of calling a friend, DON’T put it off til later…’nuff said…..goodby goodguy…..respectfully,scooby sorkin

  3. Alan Says:

    To Artie, from Alan – –
    Re my above post about Dobie, wanted to make the timeline right: I now believe it was 1963 that we met. And therefore our band could not have been performing “In Crowd” with him, as it wasn’t released until 1965. But I clearly recall playing “Look At Me”.
    Best,
    ALAN O’DAY

  4. Wedigo Watson Says:

    Nice remembrances of a wonderful singer, Artie. Thanks !

  5. Jeff Lemlich Says:

    Dobie did a wonderful, funky version of Joe South’s “Rose Garden” that deserved greater attention than it received. He was a lot more versatile than many people realize.


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