Malcolm John Rebennack, otherwise known as his stage name Dr. John, the New Orleans funk icon, had died aged 77 after suffering a heart attack.
The flamboyant musician, who won six Grammy’s throughout his career, began playing music from a young age and would go on to successfully combine the genres of blues, pop, jazz, boogie woogie and rock and roll in his own unique style.
“Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., known as Dr. John, passed away of a heart attack,” an official statement published via his social media pages revealed. “The family thanks all whom shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course.”
Dr. John released over 30 albums throughout his career, the first coming way back in 1968 with the release of his debut record Gris-Gris. Prior to that moment Rebennack had become a prominent sessions musician in the 1950s, earning a reputation for his striking musical style.
When writing about postwar New Orleans music for their book ‘Up From the Cradle of Jazz’, Jason Berry, Jonathan Foose and Tad Jones complimented Dr. John richly for his influence on the city. They wrote: “Dr. John! – sunglasses and radiant colours, feathers and plumes, bones and beads around his neck, the crusty blues voice rich in dialect cadences, and then the man himself in motion: scattering glitter to the crowds, pumping the keyboard, a human carnival to behold.”
While his records always sold well to his cult following, it was life a session musician which would see Dr. John’s musical contributions reach the major commercial and mainstream success. Throughout his career, Dr John worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Sonny & Cher, Frank Zappa, Harry Nilsson, and plenty others who searched for the hidden New Orleans ingredient.
Performing from the age of the thirteen and right up to his death, Dr. John was finally inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011 in recognition of his commitment to music.