Delaney Bramlett, who co-wrote songs such as “Superstar” and worked with a who’s-who of rock royalty, died Saturday. He was 69.
According to a Reuters report picked up by The New York Times and other outlets, the guitarist and vocalist died in Los Angeles following gallbladder surgery.
“I held him and he held on up until the last breath with which he went in peace to the light and on into eternity,” his wife, Susan Lanier-Bramlett, said on Bramlett’s Web site, www.delaneybramlett.com.
Bramlett was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, in 1939. After becoming part of the house band for the ABC rock ‘n’ roll show “Shindig” in the mid-‘60s, he met and married Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell, a backup singer for Ike & Tina Turner, in 1967, according to Allmusic.com. The pair formed Delaney & Bonnie, which became Delaney & Bonnie & Friends in 1969.
Bramlett’s biggest success followed. Eric Clapton joined the band for a short time, and Bonnie Bramlett co-wrote Clapton’s hit “Let It Rain” with the guitarist, with Delaney producing and greatly influencing the sound of Clapton’s first solo album.
Delaney & Bonnie & Friends also supported John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band for a short stint, and George Harrison was known to take the stage with the group. A couple of the Friends, Carl Radle and Jim Keltner, joined Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour; Radle later became part of Derek and the Dominos.
Delaney & Bonnie had their own hits in 1970 and ’71, including “Free the People” and “Never Ending Song of Love,” the latter of which hit the Top 20.
Bramlett also co-wrote “Superstar” with his wife and Russell, which became a No. 2 hit for the Carpenters in 1972 and was later covered by Sonic Youth for the “If I Were a Carpenter” compilation. Sonic Youth’s version was featured on the “Juno” soundtrack.
The Bramletts divorced in the early ‘70s. Delaney Bramlett struggled with alcoholism and became a born-again Christian. In recent years, his albums included “Sweet Inspiration” and “A New Kind of Blues.”
– From news reports
(Editor's note: As a commenter has noted, Bonnie Bramlett, not Delaney Bramlett, co-wrote "Let It Rain" with Eric Clapton, according to credits on Clapton's self-titled solo debut. The above story has been changed to reflect that information.)
he was not only abusive to his family but also a child molester
Frankly, if you look at the list of people that Bramlett really only had a brief acquaintance with, his contribution to rock 'n' roll as a whole isn't going to stand up as terribly worthy. I mean, if you want to talk Beatles, Lennon and Ono did a whole double album with Elephant's Memory; do you really think any of those guys are going to be overmourned in this way when their time comes?
As for Bonnie Bramlett, a certain Declan McManus (who, honestly, I wouldn't cross the street to see these days) had it right in 1979: That she rode to fame on the back of one EC, and she wasn't going to do it on another.
The only real lineage they own is everything that really is soulless and out of whack about r'n'r. And, as for that first EC – excellent guitarist, for sure; at one time, quite inspiring; unfortunately, he's been in creative stasis for three decades.
To be honest, the recent death of Jerry Reed was a MUCH bigger loss than this. And, yeah... totally in agreement with those who rue the lack of recognition given to Freddie Hubbard. He was awesome.
Only you know and I know...
I saw Delaney & Bonnie with Blind Faith in Detroit. Amazing show! I always loved them and thought Bonnie had the GREATEST voice of all time. I was very sorry to hear that Delany died. By the way, if you go to Bonnie's website you'll find out that they had three daughters, Bekka is the youngest. Unforunately Delaney's wife failed to mention any of his children on Delaney's memorial site.
I never heard two white people that had soul like Delaney and Bonnie had soul. He played guitar maybe better than Eric Clapton. Plus, he could dance, and so could Bonnie! He was a handsome young steed in his heyday – made my liver quiver! Wish he had had a higher profile in the industry for longer than he did – he was excellent.
Just a little comment on the guy that said Freddie Hubbard was 1000 times the musician – as a lover of all music I followed Feddie Hubbard over the years but to state that he was 1000 times the musician Delaney Bramlett was............I know the reader was trying to shine a positive light on Freddie but it was at Delaneys expense. Delaney Bramlet was an incredible songwriter and arranger. Just ask Eric Clapton or Dave Mason or George Harrison or Leon Russell if ANYBODY is 1000 times the musician Delaney Bramlet was. Didn't think so
The jazz fan here has much to mourn in Freddie Hubbard's passing, but that doesn't give him the right to discount the huge influence Delaney Bramlett had on rock-n-roll. Pop/rock music is so different nowadays, & not for the good. If you're not into the sleaziest hiphop-flavored R&B or a cookie-cutter "rocker" or a teenybop poptart, you don't get major radio play, period. Top 40 of the '60s/'70s could include Delaney & Bonnie as well as Tina Turner & the Beatles & Marvin Gaye & Linda Ronstadt & the Spinners & the Who & Karen Carpenter & CSNY & Stevie Wonder & Barbra Streisand & the Stones & Bill Withers & Tom Jones & Janis Ian & the Osmonds & Clapton & the Jacksons & Joni Mitchell & the BeeGees & Diana Ross & even a few big country hits thrown in. The kids today have no idea what they're missing with their knowledge of popular music being so limited to the worst kind of do as everybody else does mentality from the major labels & corporate radio. Delaney's death is sad on so many levels.
i saw delaney and bonnie open for blind faith (bass-rick greich from free, ginger baker drums from cream, steve winwood keyboards and vocal from traffic and clapton guitar and vocals from cream on) in los angeles in late 1969 at the magnificent forum. didn't know the heroin and drugs were so rampant in their circle till later (i was 17) but they managed to entertain 19,505 people as the opening act with a song co-written with clapton called 'only you know and i know,' it was a top 40 hit at the time. eric of course joined them to sing it at the end of their set. it was so easy doing business and music back then.. a joint or a toot, a contract and that was it...ah the 70's... real music, real people...the big wheel keeps on turning... God bless delaney...rest in peace.
We'll see you on the flip side... in the meantime, you'll be missed... :-(
A comment on the writing credits of Delaney & Bonnie songs. Delaney actually wrote many songs but due to contractual agreements, signed over the rights to Bonnie to "keep them in the family." There were legal procedures to get the rights and royalties back to Delaney in recent years.
The story goes that Delaney Bramlett and Leon Russell wrote the song "Superstar" on a piano in an empty ballroom in a New York hotel late at night. For legal reasons, however, some of Delaney's songs were credited to his wife and band partner, Bonnie. To add to the story, legend has it that the idea for "Superstar" came from then-Delaney and Bonnie back-up singer Rita Coolidge. Allegedly the song was inspired by Coolidge noticing how young women gazed at guitar-god Eric Clapton, who was a member of the Delaney and Bonnie band in a tour of England and Scandanavia in Nov. & Dec. 1969.
Even as a Gen X'er, I though Delaney was one of the best musical artist...he had the entire package. He wrote phenomenal lyrics...he was a one of a kind musician-just don't see them like that any more. I listened to his newest CD this morning (got it as a stocking gift) with a great loss in my heart. May GOD bless you Delaney!
I am so sadden to hear of his passing. i am a avid fan of he and Bonnie's music and she was my idol and influnced my style of singing. tis truly an end of an era in part but his music will live on with Bonnie and his daughter Becca. i have had the pleasure of meeting them both and have had Bonnies as a guest in my home and they are icons! He had more talent in his little finger that the muscians of today. They could have stood to learn a great deal from that era of music. Some of them are smart enough to learn and I have seen the influnce in some blues players that listen and watch. I shed a tear as i write this for a man that gave so much but kept so much away from all of us with his demons.......
It excited my pity
MY SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILY AND MY PRAYERS. I TOO, LIKE CARRIE REMEMBER DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS. MY FAVORITE CUT WAS AND STILL IS " WHEN THIS BATTLE IS OVER" who will wear the crown? will it be me or will it be you? i still have that lp. Atleast he knew the Lord.
i saw delaney and bonnie and taste on the blind faith tour @ keil auditorium in st. louis 1969 – what a show! – an incredible time/amazing show – so much diversity on the bill- the entertainers were so evolved/involved and no lip synching – u either 'had it' or you 'didn't' – i am blessed to have had and still have such enduring inspirational legends to guide my own artistry even to this today...i know there's a next world...and i'm not far behind. thank you delaney – you told me i could! u are missed – indeed a lot.
Just going quickly through the tributes I don't see any mention of daughter Bekka Bramlett...a fine singer who will hopefully be more successful in the next few years, and carry on the Bramlett name.
In the early seventies, everybody jammed with everybody.
The Band, Dylan, Harrison, Clapton, B.B. King, Ringo....but the Eye of the Hurricane was always two groups, Delaney and Bonnie and The John Mayall Group.
For some reason these two groups always attracted the creme of the crop and spawned new talent and new supergroups.
I know I'm an old hippie now and couldn't possibly understand today's pop music, but I can't imagine Spears, Timberlake or Beyonce jamming and recording together on the fly, spontaneously making inspired music.
Gave Clapton the courage to sing solo. Influenced many artists in the late 60's and 70's. I still remember D/B and friends on Dick Cavett's show in the early 70's. He will be missed.
I'm listening to "Super Star " . togheter with this song, i see you off . There are a lotta " Super Star" versions, but i love Capenter's the most.
This is a loss equal to any big name rock artist. If you play or listen to rock and roll and don't know or listen to this band you really don't know the format.
It is sad that some performers just fade away. But they leave their mark on us. I knew Bonnie back in the 70's...introduced to her through another individual in the biz....J Heller, but lost contact. Prior to seeing the movie "The Guardian" I had no idea that Bonnie was going to be in it. I didn't recognize her. But then, I heard her sing. You can't mistake that voice...as great as ever!
Delaney is gone but not forgotten! I hope Bonnie keeps on keeping on with her music.
Sorry to hear of Delaney Bramlett's passing. There'll be a hell of a jam session at Saint Peter's, for sure! Always liked the Bramlett's music. Reading over the posts (and the memories) makes me want to go home this afternoon and dig out those "big, black CD's" (as my daughter used to call albums). Good music, good times – thanks Delaney!
Don't forget Delaney was a "Shindog" on the TV show Shindig!
LOL does were da tymes!He will be missed, especially by Stephanie in Puna Hawaii!
I've produced and co-produced several shows in Nashville, and Becka Bramlett has been hired to be part of the house band several times. She's got a great spirit, not to mention a knock-it-down great voice. So sorry about Delaney.
Delaney, God certainly will have a spot for you in his band.
Who cares who wrote what tune? The man lost his life. One thing is certain, Eric Clapton gives Delaney credit in helping him find his "voice" and he put the beer bottle in George's hands in order to learn slide guitar......
"Easy Now" is a masterpiece and the re-release of Clapton's first album is absolutely beautiful.
Freaky, the Superstar cover by Sonic Youth came up during shuffle play today on my iPod!
Delaney and Bonnie and Friends actually appear in the original version of the movie "Vanishing Point". Its around on DVD. Decent film too. Much better than the remake. I had the pleasure of meeting Delaney in the mid 90's and got him to autograph the Laser Disc of the movie. He told me that he was in the studio trying lay down some new tracks. Never did hear much after that tho'.
This is so sad and so shocking. What a hole has been left by this lost. God Bless You.
I remember Delaney & Bonnie for "Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Sad" and for "Don't Want To Discuss It". I used to have their record. They were a couple of good old Southern rockers in their day, & I enjoyed hearing them. The photo of them together on their album cover, kind of a velvety look to it, was so right for that time. The late '60s & early '70s were the Golden Age, as everybody knows, & Bonnie & Delaney were a big and well-known part of it. But, like human life itself, their time to shine came and went. Delaney was a good one, & so is Bonnie, bless both their souls.
The Eric Clapton solo on "I Don't Want to Discuss It (Your My Love)" on the Delaney & Bonnie Live cd is a classic.
...funny, I was reading a discussion forum thread on a music site where Bobby Whitlock was the main participant. Not to speak ill of the dead, but Bobby did NOT have a lot of good things to say about Delaney; apparently Delaney had quite an overbearing ego -particularly under the influence of booze and drugs- and really treated Bonnie Bramlett like garbage behind the scenes. Overall, not really a nice guy, sorry to say.
To his credit, though, Delaney did essentially give Clapton's solo career its start- without him, there would be no Derek and the Dominoes or Mad Dogs...
He wrote "in the Ghetto" and sings it better than Elvis. Indeed, he was a great one.
What, no mention of Delaney's featured role in the (original - the good one) great car chase flick, Vanishing Point?
Delaney and Bonnie also were contributors to the Soundtrack album for the movie "Vanishing Point"... a scarce CD, but worth finding it.
What a talent. However, I am shocked that this article does not mention Luther Vandross' cover of "Superstar." That was a major hit in the R&B market and is a staple on R&B dusty radio. It is a mark of great songwriting that the song was covered by artists in different genres and was successful in each one.
Delaney and Bonnie & Friends stayed on my turntable a lot back in the day. Truly great music by a very soulful couple, not to mention their incredible band. I still love this music. Rest in Peace, Delaney. One of the greats!
As berring muir mentioned earlier, it's bummers like this that make ya feel your age, in spite of how ya handle your self......I used to listen to their work for many years, and stilll crank it up when the sattelite stations make it so,
The bright spot (if you can get your head aroound it) is that when the rest of us pass on over to the other side, we are gonna have one hell of a band.
Delaney......now you know a whole lot more than we do, and we can only hope that when it's my time I end up in your neck of the woods.....the truck stop at the end of the world..... To all involved, don't fret, kick dirt, or eat worms, if ya listned too them in the past your gonna see 'em again......yeah.....it makes me feel pretty damn old too
never ending song of love for you one of my favorites for ever
My old friend and bandmate, Ben Benay, was Clapton's replacement an Delaney and Bonnie. He died in 1996. Anothre great who never got what he deserved - because it went into some fat cat's pocket.
That's the blues.
Reading the news regarding Delaney Bramlett's passing brought back good memories of a concert I went to in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1968 or 1969.
Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie and Friends and Rory Gallagher gave me one of the best musical experiences of my life. Near the end of the show Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Stevie Winwood, Rick Gretch and Rory Gallagher jammed with Delaney and Bonnie. It was almost perfect!
I remember seeing them perform a couple of times in Tulsa in 70-71 and they could bring down the house. He was a mean drunk who beat up on Bonnie in those days. Glad to hear he sobered up. Very influential and knew how to pick musicians.
You know and I know... that this isn't much of a shock. Delaney Bramelett had some serious substance and alcohol abuse problems in his younger days. It shortens your life... Unless your name is Keith Richards maybe.
At any rate, I can't believe CNN picked up on this story on an ok songwriter who had one or two hit singles and a top selling album, but completedly missed the story of jazz legend Freddie Hubbard's death early this morning.
Hubbard was a monster trumpet player who, in addition to his own important work as a leader, played on some of the most important jazz releases of the 60's: Coltrane's Africa Brass, Ascension, Erik Dolphy's Out to Lunch!, Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Oliver Nelson's Blues and the Abstract Truth, and Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage. No disrespect to Delaney Bramlett intended but Hubbard was 1,000 times the musician and it's sad to see him leave us just 70 years old. Jazz is STILL America's most important contribution to world culture.
It seems that many of the "GOOD OLD" guitarists and Musicians are going away. The ones many people couldn't identify, but any music afficinado, Guitarist or even groupies who were actually paying attention in the 70's are having a sad Moment.
Thank you Delaney, For all that you did! Gonna miss those smooth sounds....
Keep on Rockin'
Rest in peace,bro. Thanks for making music a bit more pleasurable. You will be missed.
What a great duo. Bonnie was on "Rosanne" for a number of years as a waitress & in one episode belted out "You really got a hold on me".
Both never got the real credit they deserved. Another member for Rock 'n' Roll heaven.
This is a sad day in the world of music.
My mother, being a fan, gave me Delaney as my middle name
Wow ! I was just listenin to a hari bootleg (george harrison) and it has the whole nun lun gun show, try and cop it it's unreal and actually has decent sound quality for the times. I have an old vinyll boot of it released in the early 80's but cd's exhist.
"Delaney and Bonnie with Eric Clapton and George
Harrison" – lun – nun – qun
Recorded at the Falkoner Theatre, Copenhagen on 12/12/69.
8 tracks on 1 CD.
EC/Delaney Bramlett (Guitar, Vocals)/Bonnie Bramlett (Vocals)/
Dave Mason (Guitar)/George Harrison (Guitar)/Bobby Whitlock (Organ, Vocals)/
Carl Radle (Bass)/Jim Gordon (Drums)/Jim Price (Trumpet)/Bobby Keys (Sax)/
Rita Coolidge (Vocals)/Tex Johnson (Percussion)
I still listen to Delaney and Bonnie albums and have a DVD of them with Clapton. Bonnie is still around but I haven't heard much from Delaney in a long long time. Loved his writing and singing. His influence on Eric Clapton cannot be overstated. Listening to the "live" on Tour album or Claptons first album it is nearly impossible to tell Clapton from Delaney.
RIP Delaney – what you started lives on.
P.S. to my previous post. Similarly, backup singer Rita Coolidge’s version of “Superstar” on Joe Cocker’s legendary “Mad Dogs & Englishmen” 1970 album was written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell. This “Superstar” version went on to be recorded by Bette Midler, Cher, The Carpenters, Luther Vandross, Sonic Youth, etc., etc., etc.
The earlier, “original” Delaney and Bonnie version was called “Groupie (Superstar)” and surfaced on the “D&B Together” album in 1972.
Just maybe Bonnie will surface in the next couple of days with her comments on the early days and set the record straight.
Delaney wrote LET IT RAIN, Bonnie wrote SUPERSTAR.
Groupie (Superstar) – Written by Bonnie Bramlett & Leon Russell. If you look at most of the songs from that period Bonnie Bramlett wrote most of the lyrics with various composers not Delaney.
I was a huge Clapton fan in the 60-70s, saw all his shows. When Bill Graham booked Delaney & Bonnie at the Fillmore West I couldn't wait. I'd seen them briefly on Dick Cavett but it was nothing like their stage show which was unbelievably tight, well paced, and absolutely rockin'. They knew just when to do the slow tunes like "That's what my man is for" and "I don't know why". The rhythm section was stellar and the vocals right on the money. Delaney was a true innovator and a superb band leader.
Another GreatOne has passed
You will be sorely missed
An incredible talent, and pioneer. Few people realize how influential Delaney was to the transition of Folk, to rock, to folk rock and the generation that was the Allman Bros., Eagles, Doobie Bros. Marshall Tucker. They all owed a debt to Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. His daughter Becka is a sensation as well. God bless the family.
Yes, Delaney's passing is sad. However, it is also sad that Reuters and other news organizations like The New York Times and CNN do not verify information.
The hit single "Let It Rain" was co-witten by Bonnie Bramlett NOT Delaney.
I was weened on Clapton at an early. I fondly remember what they call "the orange/apple" album of Eric's. Delaney and Bonnie jammed on it.
May he rest in peace.
What a great performer. Anyone that listens to Eric Clapton knows that he found his singing voice by listening to Delaney. So sad how performers of his caliber just fade away and die. There's always the records though. Let it rain..........
RIP Delaney. You can now join your old friends Duane Allman and Carl Radle and play rock and roll forever.
Bless Delaneys soul. I have old recordings of he and Bonnie. "Only you know and I know", was a great one, its on Claptons Greatest Hits. what a loss. It just shows how everyone knew each other back then, the music scene was so much better than it is today. Real talent.
We will miss you Delaney.
Oh, sad! Delaney was a giant around '70. Inspired tons of rockers, friend to Clapton, Russell, some of the Beatles, etc, Great singer too. I'm suddenly feeling pretty old.
Delaney Bramlett-a good songwriter.
I heard his songs in the 1970's as a child. Loved them.
Anyway, I'm seeing J.C. SUPERSTAR, this weekend.
And Delaney's SUPERSTAR came out at the same time Webber's/Rice's
Two songs with the SAME title-but good songs though.
Big hits too.
What a shock. I bought Delaney & Bonnie's two great albums, "Home" and "Delaney and Bonnie and Friends with Eric Clapton On Tour," when they were first issued, and became an instant fan. Both Delaney and Bonnie were great singers who were underappreciated and not nearly as well-known as they should have been.
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