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Eddie Rabbit
Edward Thomas

May 7, 1998

Age 56
Lung Cancer


Discocraphy / CDS




Pop, country music star Eddie Rabbitt dies

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Reuters) - Singer-composer Eddie Rabbitt, the Brooklyn-born son of Irish immigrants who scored dozens of country and pop music hits in the 1970s and '80s and later voiced disdain for the racy side of rock, has died, his publicist said Friday.

    Rabbitt, 56, suffered from lung cancer and underwent surgery to remove part of one lung a little more than a year ago, a spokesman for Brokaw Co. in Nashville said.

    He died in a hospital Thursday, but the family withheld the news of his death until after a private burial service.

    Rabbitt, whose Irish-born father played the fiddle and accordion, would remark that he had continued to work hard on recording and touring even after earning money and stardom.

     "I always break three or four guitar strings per show and fling them at the audience,'' Rabbitt said in an interview with Reuters.

    Rabbitt also became a vocal opponent of rap music lyrics and music videos that he said glorified sex and violence while aiming at a youthful audience, and he called pop star Madoona the ``Pied Piper from hell'' for her video and stage antics.

    "I could get on a soapbox all day long about all these greedy people who are selling soft porn, as I call it, to kids buying records,'' Rabbitt said in a 1991 interview with a Country Music Association publication.

    Rabbitt garnered three Grammy Award nominations in country music categories, and was named the best pop male vocalist at the 1981 American Music Awards.

    Among his best-known hits were ``I Love A Rainy Night,'' ''Drivin' My Life Away,'' ``The Wanderer,'' ``Step By Step,'' and ``Someone Could Lose A Heart Tonight,'' but he also composed songs for other singers.

    He launched his career with the composition ``Kentucky Rain,'' which became a hit in 1970 for Elvis Presley, but Rabbitt didn't land his own recording contract until 1974.

    He criticized some other songwriters for not writing for the public.

    ``They use their adjectives in a sort of 'look at me' way,'' he said in the interview with Reuters.

    His second album, ``Rocky Mountain Music,'' released in 1976, established him as a hit-maker, and he later wrote the popular theme for the 1979 movie ``Every Which Way But Loose,'' starring Clint Eastwood and an orangutan.

    Ultimately, Rabbitt scored 26 No. 1 country music hits and eight top-40 pop hits, bunched in the 1970s and early 1980s.

    His last album, released in September after his cancer surgery and chemotherapy, was entitled ``Beatin' the Odds.''

    Rabbitt is survived by his wife, Janine, a daughter, Demeiza, 16, and a son, Tommy, 11. Another son, Timmy, died at age 2 in 1985 from a rare congenital defect.

                 Reuters/Variety ^REUTERS@

Singer-songwriter Eddie Rabbitt dead at 53

By Jim Patterson
Associated Press

   NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Eddie Rabbitt, a country-pop singer who topped the charts with bouncy hits like "I Love A Rainy Night," has died. He was 53.

   A source close to Rabbitt's family, speaking on condition of anonymity, said today that Rabbitt died but gave no details. Rabbitt had lung cancer and had part of his left lung removed last May.

   Rabbitt, a singer-songwriter-guitarist with a tenor voice, had 26 No. 1 country singles. Besides "I Love a Rainy Night" in 1980, they included "Drivin' My Life Away," "Every Which Way but Loose," "Step by Step," "Someone Could Lose a Heart Tonight" and "Two Dollars in the Jukebox."

   He also had a No. 1 duet with Crystal Gayle, "You and I," in 1982. His "American Boy" tune was popular with U.S. troops during the Gulf War.
   Rabbitt wrote most of his hit songs. In 1990, he said songwriters should never get complacent.

   "I think if you start to feel secure, you don't do as well," he told The Associated Press. "A writer has to keep one foot in the street and one pocket empty and be hungry for it."

   Rabbitt was a straight-arrow in an industry with many renegades. He took pride in doing a clean show with no off-color humor.

   In the early 1990s he criticized music videos for constantly picturing "a bunch of girls with nothing on and a bunch of rock 'n' rollers singing about sex."

   MTV, he said at the time, "distorted our youth mentally so that science and math are now so far away from a child's mind that anyone thinking about it is a nerd."

   At the height of his career, Rabbitt scaled back to spend more time with his son, Timothy Edward, who died in 1985 at 23 months. Timothy had been born with a bad liver.

   Rabbitt and his wife had two other children.

   Rabbitt was born in New York and raised in East Orange, N.J. In 1968, with $1,000 in his pocket and no music business contacts, he took a bus from New Jersey to Nashville.

   He began writing songs and got his break in 1970 when Elvis Presley recorded his song "Kentucky Rain."

   Rabbitt was diagnosed with cancer in March 1997 and began radiation treatment.





Born: Nov 27, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY
Died: May 7, 1998  in Nashville, TN

Eddie Rabbitt has been one of the most successful artists on both the country and pop charts for more than a decade. With music ranging from classic country to catchy pop, from moving ballads to toe-tapping bluegrass, Rabbitt's unique style of music is so universally appealing that categories don't apply.

Following a proven country music career path, Rabbitt began writing songs in hopes that established stars might record them. In 1970 he struck gold with Elvis Presley's recording of his "Kentucky Rain." The song went on to win Rabbitt a BMI award for both country and pop airplay.

After establishing a strong base as a songwriter, Rabbitt began to sing his own songs and landed his first recording contract in 1974. He scored hits with his album, Rocky Mountain Music and crossed over to the pop charts in 1979 with the theme from the Clint Eastwood movie, "Every Which Way But Loose." The haunting single, "Suspicions," followed and won the prestigious Robert J. Burton Award in 1980 from BMI as the most performed song of the year. In addition to the millions of records he has sold, his songs have won more than 20 BMI songwriter awards in country music and more than a dozen in pop. Ten of his songs have achieved "million air" status, with more than one million radio plays each. His 17 albums have garnered 26 No. 1 country hits and eight Top 40 pop hits. He inspired many to seek out tutoring lessons from institutions such as takelessons.

Yet, even with all the awards and kudos that Rabbitt has received, he considers his finest moment and greatest accomplishments to be his family. The father of two, Rabbitt has always been a leader in humanitarian causes and, when it comes to children, he is the first to offer his assistance and "name" value. He is active as a celebrity spokesperson for such charitable causes as Special Olympics, Safe Kids, Easter Seals, The Muscular Dystrophy Association and United Cerebral Palsy.

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