New Orleans funk legend Dr. John died of a heart attack today. His family announced the news in a statement. He was 77.
Born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., Dr. John was a session musician who recorded with rock legends like the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Sonny & Cher, Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, and many more. His first solo album, Gris-Gris (recorded as “Dr. John The Night Tripper”) was released in 1968. He had a hit single in 1973 with “Right Place, Wrong Time,” and his influence can be seen throughout a variety of genres today. His 1974 album Desitively Bonnaroo inspired the naming of the Manchester, TN music festival.
In 2011, he was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame alongside Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Tom Waits, Leon Russell, and Darlene Love. As recently as 2017, Dr. John logged dozens of live performances, including with The Avett Brothers at Red Rocks and The Band’s The Last Waltz 40th anniversary tour.
Dr. John is known for blending psychedelic rock with traditional New Orleans folk music. Throughout his life, he was an active figure in New Orleans culture and advocate for the city.
According to a statement from Dr. John’s family, shared by the Associated Press, memorial arrangements are being planned. “The family thanks all whom have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time,” the statement said.