Friday, December 09, 2011

Popobit: Dobie Gray

Dobie Gray, who dabbled across many genres, has died.

Writing for its American audience, the New York Times suggests Gray would be best known for Drift Away:

A great song, but from a UK perspective, his big gift to music was The In Crowd:

Although Gray didn't write the tune, it was his idea that inspired Billy Page. The song has been covered by everyone from Bryan Ferry to the Chipmunks, and even survived being mangled to make a BT advert extolling the virtuse of an "in-phone" you could have "upstairs while I paint my toes".

Grays origins are murky - nobody is quite sure how old he was, or where precisely he was born. He came from a sharecropper background somewhere in Texas, sometime during the Second World War. Even his early recording career was confused, as he tried a variety of names - Leonard Ainsworth, Larry Curtis and Larry Dennis - before settling on Dobie Gray.

After his success in the 70s, he relocated to Nashville and concentrated more on writing than performing.

Dobie Gray was around 70; it's believed he died from complications related to cancer.