Dr. John, New Orleans music legend, dies at age 77
Musician, singer, and New Orleans music legend Mac Rebennack — a.k.a. “Dr. John” — has died at the age of 77. Rebennack’s passing was announced via his official Twitter account. “Towards the break of day on June 6,” ran the message, “iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., professionally known as Dr. John, passed away of a heart attack. As a Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductee, six-time Grammy winner, songwriter, composer, producer, and performer, he created a unique blend of music which carried his home town, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart. The family thanks all who have shared his unique musical journey, and requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course.”
Dr. John’s 1968 debut album Gris-Gris failed to make a commercial impact upon its release, but over time came to be recognized as a classic mix of psychedelic rock and rhythm-and-blues. Five years later, he cracked the Top Ten with the song “Right Place Wrong Time.” His many collaborators included The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Rickie Lee Jones, and Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach, who produced his 2012 album, Locked Down.
The musician was synonymous with New Orleans and was fiercely proud of his city.
“New Orleans, we gave the world a lot of things: the music, the food, a lot of things!” Dr. John told EW in 2008, talking about the effect of Hurricane Katrina, which had devastated the city three years previously. “And we’re good people! We’re not bad people! But New Orleans became as poor as most places in Haiti, like a third world country.”
Watch Dr. John perform “Right Place Wrong Time,” above.