Best known for his smash 1973 soul-country hit “Drift Away,” singer [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Dobie Gray[/lastfm] passed away at the age of 71 on Dec. 6th, according to the artist’s official website, with no known cause of death released.
Many condolences via Twitter have been pouring in from musicians who were influenced by Dobie’s music, including one artist who had a hit of his own covering Dobie’s top 5 hit.
Born in Houston in 1940, Dobie’s real name has been listed as Leonard Victor Ainsworth and Laurence Darrow Brown, but was dubbed with his nickname “Dobie” by Sonny Bono in the ’60s after the popular sitcom The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis.
Coming onto the music scene with the debut 1965 single “The ‘In’ Crowd,” which peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Charts, it wasn’t until Dobie’s breakout hit “Drift Away” that he became a household name.
The song became a rock staple, incorporating elements of soul, gospel and country with inspirational lyrics of “Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul/I wanna get lost in your rock n roll/And drift away.”
The song has seen many covers over the years by artists like Roy Orbison, Rod Stewart, Waylon Jennings, Ray Charles and Michael Bolton, but had a major resurgence in 2003 when Detroit rocker [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Uncle Kracker[/lastfm] released his contemporary version that peaked at No. 9. After hearing the news of Dobie’s passing, the artist tweeted “thanks for the music.”
Watch the official music video of Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away”:
Watch Uncle Kracker’s hit cover version of “Drift Away”: