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|June 25, 2019|
Dr. John was at the right place at the right time
NEW ORLEANS - Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, the nine-fingered New Orleans-based pianist, singer, songwriter and session musician best known for his 1973 top 10 hit “Right Place, Wrong Time,” has died. He was 77.
Across six decades as a creator, Rebennack served as the unofficial voodoo ambassador of the Crescent City, and starting in the 1960s helped update the region’s distinctive boogie-woogie sound for a new generation.
Rebennack suffered a fatal heart attack on Thursday morning, according to a statement.
In his 1994 autobiography, “Under a Hoodoo Moon,” Rebennack described his mystical creation as “a medicine man who claimed to be a prince of Senegal before he was abducted and taken to Cuba.”
In Hollywood, Rebennack lived as a session musician with a community of roustabouts in a Melrose Avenue building misleadingly called the Hollywood Executive Hotel. He recorded “Gris-Gris,” a swamp rock classic, at Gold Star Studios with off-hours studio time paid for by Sonny and Cher.
As he evolved, Rebennack moved from a deliberately uncommercial approach to tripped-out voodoo music and toward a desire to succeed in the market. As he famously told Rolling Stone in 1973, “The only thing that makes a record commercial is if people buy it.”
Story Date: June 7, 2019