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DAN HICKS –Legendary Music Figure– Passes Away At 74 After Two-Year Battle With Cancer

Dan Hicks –widely acknowledged as one of the defining figures in American roots music– passed away today (2/6/16) at age 74 after a two-year battle with cancer at his home in Mill Valley, CA. The fiercely creative singer and songwriter is survived by his wife Clare Hicks and step daughter Sara Wasserman. Clare Hicks has posted a statement at: http://www.danhicks.net/

Hicks began his musical journey as a drummer in the seminal 60’s San Francisco rock band The Charlatans before forming his unique and legendary Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Having earned a reputation as a true original with his signature eclecticism and humor, Hicks continued to carve his way through a number of genres from proto-psychedelia to western swing and jazz, from Tin Pan Alley to country blues–all the while cultivating his own unique sound.

The original Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks recorded five ground-breaking and Billboard-charting records for the Columbia, Blue Thumb and Warner Bros. labels. They toured worldwide, and Dan appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine three times.

Throughout the 60s and 70s there was no one who sounded at all like Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, and remarkably, so many years later, there still isn’t. Dan signed with Surfdog Records in 1999 and re-assembled the Hot Licks, with a new incarnation releasing the wildly successful Beatin’ the Heatin 2000, featuring collaborations with Bette Midler, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Rickie Lee Jones and Brian Setzer. USA Today called it “one of the blessings of the new millennium.” That release was followed by the live CD Alive & Lickin’ in 2001.

Late 2003 saw the DVD/CD release of Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks – Featuring An All Star Cast of Friends, a spectacular concert and video project that reunited Hicks with virtually every musician he has ever played and recorded with. Both Mojo and Downbeat magazines rated it “Four Stars…one of the best CDs of 2004.” 2005 brought the next studio release Selected Shorts, featuring special guests Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Gibby Haynes, Jim Keltner and Van Dyke Parks. It was widely touted as the band’s best CD to date. As The New Yorker magazine remarked, “As great as his early masterpiece Where’s the Money?…truly superb.”

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks’ tenth studio CD in 2009, Tangled Tales, was produced by Grammy winner Chris Goldsmith (Blind Boys of Alabama). The widely acclaimed release on Surfdog Records featured all-new Dan Hicks original songs and special guests David Grisman, Roy Rogers, and Charlie Musselwhite, among others. To quote Daily Variety, “Dan Hicks is at the top of his game…unlike many pop artists today, a new studio album from Dan Hicks is like a new painting from Picasso.”

The very first and long-awaited Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks Christmas album was released in October 2010, Crazy For Christmas, and lauded by NPR’s Fresh Air, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Called one of the Best of 2010 by the Village Voice, Crazy For Christmas also landed on the Billboard charts.

In honor of the legend himself, dozens of stars appeared on stage to celebrate Dan Hicks’ 70th birthday. The DVD/CD Live at Davies (2013) captures the best of the night. It includes several of Dan’s biggest hits as well as some never before released live. Special guests include Rickie Lee Jones, Harry Shearer, Van Dyke Parks, David Grisman, Tuck and Patti, John Hammond and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott among many others. Perhaps the Minneapolis Star Tribune summed it all up best “Dan Hicks is the eternal hipster, purveyor of the drollest and most swingin’ tunes the rock generation ever enjoyed.”

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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