Print E-mail

The Tennessean, December 28, 2008

Singer-songwriter-producer Delaney Bramlett, who penned such classic rock songs as “Let it Rain” and worked with musicians George Harrison and Eric Clapton, has died. He was 69.

Mr. Bramlett died Saturday in Los Angeles as a result of complications from gallbladder surgery, his wife Susan Lanier-Bramlett said.

Born in Mississippi, Mr. Bramlett enjoyed a career in the music business that spanned 50 years. With then-wife Bonnie Bramlett, he created the Southern blues-rock band Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. The group opened for Blind Faith, which featured British guitarist Clapton, in 1969.

The Bramletts divorced in 1973, and Bonnie now lives in Nashville. The couple did not work together again until the new century, when they joined daughter Bekka Bramlett for a performance at Nashville club 3rd & Lindsley.

By then, Mr. Bramlett was firmly established as an inspiration, collaborator and friend to numerous Nashville-area musicians.

His songs have been recorded by Tennesseans including The Everly Brothers, Crystal Gayle, the duo of Conway Twitty & Loretta Lynn, Lester Flatt, Ray Stevens, Dickey Lee and LynnMarie.

And he wrote songs with Music City luminaries Leon Russell, Gary Nicholson, Steve Cropper, Billy Burnette and Dennis Morgan.

In Nashville, Bonnie Bramlett is a vital force as a solo performer and harmony singer. Daughter Bekka spent four years touring as part of Fleetwood Mac and has become one of Nashville’s in-demand vocalists and songwriters.

She is a favorite vocalist of Alison Krauss, Vince Gill and others, and she has written songs for recording artists including Faith Hill, Wynonna, Gretchen Wilson and Tracy Nelson.

Upon bringing her parents together to perform with her in 2002, Bekka Bramlett told The Tennessean, “They haven’t sung together since I was like 12. I’m flipping out, I’m so happy.”

Mr. Bramlett is perhaps best known for standards such as “Superstar,” co-written with Leon Russell. It was recorded by Usher, Luther Vandross, Bette Midler, The Carpenters and most recently, Sonic Youth, in a version featured on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack of the movie Juno.

He co-wrote “Let it Rain” with Clapton, who also recorded it, and “Never Ending Song of Love,” which was recorded by more than 100 artists including Ray Charles, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Patty Loveless and Dwight Yoakam.

During his career, Mr. Bramlett performed, co-wrote or recorded with stars such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, John Lennon, Dave Mason, Billy Preston and Mac Davis. He also produced artists including Etta James and Elvin Bishop.

He recently released an album, A New Kind of Blues, on independent label Magnolia Gold Records. 

Fleetwood Mac fans may recall that  Delaney co-wrote a song that appeared on the Mac's Time album with his daughter:  Nothing Without You.