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Dino Danelli also played with Steven Van Zandt’s band, the Disciples of Soul, between 1982 and 1984.

Dino Danelli, founding drummer of the New Jersey rock band Rascals and member of Steven Van Zandt’s band the Disciples of Soul, has died aged 78.

Danelli’s death was confirmed on his facebook page by a message from his friend and Rascals archivist, Joe Russo. The exact cause of death was not given, but Russo said the ” main problems from Danelli were coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Russo said the drummer’s health began to fail around 2018, and earlier that year he checked into a rehabilitation center where he remained until his death.

On Facebook, Rascals guitarist Gene Cornish wrote of Danelli: ” He was my brother and the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen. I’m devastated “. In another post, he added: Dino never cared about being a ‘rock star’, it was always about music and art for him. Everything else was window dressing “.

Van Zandt also shared a tribute on social media, writing, “ RIP Dino Danelli. One of the greatest drummers of all time. Rascals 1965-1971. Disciples Of Soul 1982-1984. On Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theater in Once Upon A Dream 2013. »

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Danelli was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. He started his career as a jazz and R&B drummer, but became interested in rock and roll after associating with a band called Ronnie Speeks and the Elrods. He performed in New York, Las Vegas and New Orleans and eventually teamed up with Cornish, vocalist and keyboardist Felix Cavaliere and vocalist Eddie Brigati to form the Young Rascals in 1965.

The Young Rascals achieved their first number one the following year with their rendition of the song ” Good Lovin’ by Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick. Their debut album (featuring a photo showing the band in their signature Little Lord Fauntleroy-style shirts) was released the same year and was certified Gold by the RIAA. In 1967, the Young Rascals recorded a second number one with ” Groovin’ », an emblematic title written by Cavaliere and Brigati.

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In 1968, the Rascals dropped the “Young” from their name, but their success continued with singles like ” A Beautiful Morning ” and ” People Got to Be Free which were both on their album Once Upon a Dream. Afterwards, the Rascals continued to release Top 40 titles with some regularity, but failed to match their greatest success. In 1971, the Rascals separated.

After that, Danelli formed with Cornish the group Bulldog, which released two albums before disbanding in 1975; he also plays in the band Fotomaker, alongside former Raspberries lead guitarist Wally Bryson. In 1982, Van Zandt asked him to join the Disciples of Soul, and he played on the group’s first two albums, Men Without Women in 1982 and Voice of America in 1984. If he is no longer the drummer of the Disciples of Soul for the album Freedom – No Compromise from 1987, Danelli, who has always had a penchant for graphic design, participates in the design of the cover and the artistic direction of this album.

The Rascals reunited for a brief tour in 1988 with all of the original lineup except Brigati. The four core members were all present, however, when the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2012, largely at Van Zandt’s insistence, The Rascals launched a proper reunion with The Rascals: Once Upon a Dream, a concert/Broadway type production in which the band tells and recreates its history.

After a few years of performing and touring, the Rascals broke up again. According to Danelli’s friend and Rascals archivist Russo, the drummer was ” extremely disappointed with the abrupt conclusion ” Of the reunion. ” He didn’t want it to end and he was almost obsessed with finding ideas to keep feeding the machine. “.

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Still, according to Russo, Danelli remained creatively busy in his later years, both working on various video, art, photography and writing projects. Danelli also continued to make music, with Russo saying the two men ” wrote, recorded and produced entire albums of songs together “.

He was the epitome of “cool” and never ceased to impress me with his seemingly endless reservoir of ideas and approaches.Russo said. The word ‘artist’ is so commonly used to describe the lowest level of personal expression, but let me assure you that Dino Danelli possessed a mindset, creative philosophy and skill set as deep as any great artist you’ve heard of. »

Jon Blisten

Translated by the editor

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