Rock star George Frayne aka Commander Cody has died at 77

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NEW YORK (AP) – George Frayne, who, as the leader of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet aviator, enjoyed a cult following in the 1970s with party and concert favorites like “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That cigarette)),” died.

Frayne died in Saratoga Springs, New York on Sunday, according to his wife Sue Casanova, who did not immediately provide further details. He was 77 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

“As I lay my head on his shoulder / George’s soul has fled / I’m heartbroken and weary / And I know your hearts are breaking too,” Casanova wrote of him. Facebook page September 26.

Formed in 1967, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airman draw inspiration from influences ranging from western swing to jump blues.

They became a popular touring and recording group during the first half of the 1970s, moving across the country in a converted Greyhound bus. They specialize in uptempo remakes, notably the top 10 “Hot Rod Lincoln”; “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That cigarette)”, a novelty song from the 1940s; “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” and “Diggy Liggy Lo”. The sound was boogie country-rock and the vibe was light and ready to go wild, as defined by Frayne’s talking and witty blues voice.

Western swing group Asleep at the wheel also paid tribute to the late Frayne on Facebook.

“The Commander, Commander Cody left the spaceship Earth, but he left behind a treasure trove of musical art and a POV that certainly changed the face of music! He made AATW possible in so many ways, and I / we owe him a debt of gratitude for all the love and inspiration he has given us, “the group wrote. “George and Chris Frayne together again now. RIP Old friend.”

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Frayne was originally from Boise, Idaho, who grew up in New York and Long Island and became interested in piano, art and design early on. He attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and graduate student and still lived in Ann Arbor when he helped train Commander Cody with Billy C. Farlow, Bill Kirchen and others. he would call “neo-radicals specializing in a form of quasi-social chaos.”

Their name was taken from older movie soap operas, including a 1950s sci-fi adventure starring the space fighter, Commander Cody.

They relocated to the Bay Area in California in 1969, when a trippy name like Commander Cody and his Lost Plane Airmen matched well with local groups such as the Charlatans, Quicksilver Messenger Service and (better known), Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead.

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They had success in the early 1970s with “Hot Rod Lincoln” and released six albums from 1971 to 1975, including the famous “Live from Deep in the Heart of Texas”, while resisting Warner Bros. efforts to stand up. model on the trading country. rock of the Eagles.

The band broke up in the mid-1970s, but Frayne (still calling himself Commander Cody) continued to tour and record, performing with Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello and Sammy Hagar among others and releasing albums such as “Dopers , Drunks and Everyday Losers “. and “Worst Case Scenario”. He also painted, made films and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

In 2009, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen were elected to the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.

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