Iconic New Orleans musician Dr. John dies aged 77

Dr. John performs during the 2008 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin, File)

Tributes paid to the six-time Grammy Winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee

Tributes are being paid to one of America’s great blues and jazz musicians – Malcolm John Rebennack, better known as Dr. John, who has passed away aged 77. A statement from his publicist confirmed the news on social media overnight, saying “he created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always at his heart. The family thanks all whom have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time.”

A white man who found a home among black New Orleans musicians, he first entered the music scene when he accompanied his father, who ran a record shop and also fixed the P.A. systems at New Orleans bars.

As a teenager in the 1950s, he played guitar and keyboards in a string of bands and made the legendary studio of Cosimo Matassa his second home, Rebennack said in his 1994 memoir, ‘Under a Hoodoo Moon.’ He got into music full-time after dropping out of high school, became acquainted with drugs and petty crime and lived a fast-paced life.

His breakout solo album was ‘Gris-Gris’ in 1968, and he scored a top-10 hit in 1973 with the song ‘Right Place, Wrong Time’. He collaborated with countless musicians including Professor Longhair and Irma Thomas, The Rolling Stones, Earl King, Van Morrison and James Booker. Dr. John received 6 GRAMMY Awards and 15 nominations over his illustrious career, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 and of course Blues Act of the Year at the 2015 Jazz FM Awards. 

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