Thursday, August 07, 2008

Songwriterobit: Robert Hazard

Robert Hazard, songwriter, has died.

Born Robert Rimato, Hazard's greatest gift to pop was as songwriter of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but he was also a performer in his own right. His band The Heroes had one of those fairytale strokes of luck in building a national profile - Rolling Stone had sent Kurt Loder to cover a gig in Philadelphia; he stumbled across Hazard's band playing in a bar and wrote a feature on them. Loder's predictions of "limousine life" never quite were fulfilled, but they did tolerably well - a self-produced ep was picked up by RCA and given national distribution in 1982. However, Hazard took the decision to drop the band's name from the band's name - becoming just Robert Hazard - and dropped some of the original members, while RCA interfered overmuch with the plans for the debut album. The resulting record failed to sell.

Hazard then revamped the Heroes again, this time as the New Heroes; in 1991 he reunited with the original line-up to mark their tenth anniversary, but only for one night.

After a brief spell with another group, The Hombres, in the late 90s, Hazard took a break. He returned, refreshed, for 2003's Seventh Lake and the following year, Blue Mountain. A second career-changing stroke of luck came in 2006, when the vice-president of Rykodisc saw him playing in Philadelphia. Hazard signed a long-term deal with the label, but had only managed to release one disc before falling ill.

Hazard made a last post to his MySpace on July 24th:

A heartfelt thank you to all my fans and friends who have been so supporortive to my music and the direction I have taken over the past few years.

I have been truly blessed as a performer and a songwriter to have you with me on this wonderful journey

Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances beyond my control

I have been forced to cancel the rest of my summer tour schedule
We will pick up again in the Fall

In the meantime I will be preparing for a new CD and more show dates
Please stay tuned to your local venues for rescheduled dates in your area

Until we meet again….

Hazard had recently had surgery; his death is believed to be related.