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Ronnie Montrose passes....

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Ronnie Montrose, the guitar hero who led the group Montrose passed away last weekend. It was complications from prostate cancer. He was 64.

I assume you remember Montrose. One of the early "heavy metal" bands, he formed it with Bill Church and featured some guy named Sammy Hagar on vocals. Whereas rock had been reletively subtle up to the band's 1972 formation (yes, Led Zep was subtle), Montrose created the mold for hard driving, sorta bluz based guitar rock. I offer up this example from their first LP.

But what most people don't realise was Ronnie's studio sideman work. Being a s studio musician is a lot like being in a cover band. You've got to be a cameleon, adapting to the style of the artist you're working with. Compare the hard rockin' Ronnie Montrose with the subtle work done here....

Yup, that's Ronnie Montrose on the electric. And he's here, too, as part of the Edgar Winter Group.

After Montrose broke up, Ronnie continued to record onder the band name, while working with such people as Gary Wright, Tony Williams, Nicolette Larson (!), and Paul Kantner's Planet Earth Rock And Roll Orchestra.

(I sewar Airplane/Starship members had more side projects than The Grateful Dead and The Byrds combined). Ronnie also brought his guitar to "Back Against The Wall", a Pink Floyd tribute LP.

Ronnie and Sammy got back together to tour and record a couple albums in 2004/5, and Montrose toured as late as 2009. I'm sorry to hear of his passing.

One more before we go. You probably heard that Robert B. Sherman passed Tuesday in London at the age of 86. You should probably hear it again. Sherman, with his brother, wrote many of the songs in later Disney films like "Mary Poppins", "A Jungle Book", "The Sword In The Stone" and many others, including songs for Disney's adaptation of A.A. Milne's "Winnie The Pooh" stories. The brothers also wrote the classic songs for "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang", Top 40 hits for Annette Funicello....

....and this golden oldie. Originally written for a display at the 1964 New York Worlds Fair, you can't miss it on any trip to Disneyland.

For providing this staple of every grade school music program alone he deserves a mention.

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