Robin McNamara, a struggling New York singer-songwriting within the late 1960s who answered a casting name for a brand new present referred to as Hair and landed a starring function with the alternative forged on Broadway, died Oct. 21. He was 74.
His loss of life was introduced right now on his official web site, although extra particulars had been sparse.
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“On October 21, 2021, Robin McNamara gained his angel wings,” an announcement on the web page says. “This gentlest of gentle souls was predeceased by his loving wife, Suzie, who departed the earthly plane on May 16, 2018. Robin and Suzie are now reunited for all eternity. Robin will be greatly missed, for his talent but especially for his kind and loving spirit.”
In addition to his run as Hair‘s Claude from 1969 through 1971 (he replaced the original James Rado, who also wrote the musical’s e-book and lyrics), McNamara had a giant radio hit through the summer time of 1970 titled “Lay a Little Lovin’ on Me,” a bouncy, ear-catching pop tune with the immediately memorable refrain “Lay a little lovin’ on me/Lay a little lovin’ on me/A-honey, doggone it, I depend upon it/So lay a little lovin’ on me!”
McNamara’s sole hit was co-written together with his songwriting companion Jim Cretecos and document producer Jeff Barry, who had signed the Hair star to his Steed document label. The sprightly tune had reached No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart by the tip of summer time 1970, and likewise charted in Canada and Australia.
Born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, McNamara would later keep in mind being impressed by the early wave of rock & roll pioneers he was listening to on the radio. “In tenth grade a couple of friends of mine played guitar and asked me if I wanted to sing in a band,” he mentioned in an interview on his web site. “It was 1963, and I loved Roy Orbison, so [we did] some of [his] material; we also did a lot of Buddy Holly material.”
Courtesy Robin McNamara web site
“I was one of the first to grow my hair long in those days,” he continued, “and obtained thrown out of highschool just a few instances as a result of my hair grew too lengthy. I by no means lower it alone; I’d look ahead to them to inform me to chop it, or they’d throw me out once more, which they’d periodically do! Each time they did, [the band] obtained free publicity from all of the Boston TV, radio, and newspapers. My dad and mom had been so cool about the entire thing simply so long as I graduated, so every time, after just a few days I’d barely lower my hair, [just] acceptable sufficient to get again in. I keep in mind we had a protest with over 500 children on the college sooner or later all chanting in unison: ‘Leave it long! Let it grow!’”
His long hair would prove useful after his move to New York. Initially hired as a member of the Hair chorus, McNamara then went on to briefly play the role of Woof before taking on the co-lead role of Claude.
In the same interview, McNamara recalled simultaneously working on Broadway and touring to support his hit pop song.
“It was great fun,” he said. “I got to work with some really neat people along the way. One night I shared the bill with John Denver and Albert King in El Paso, Texas – what a unique combination that was. After the show we were all invited to go over the border to Juarez. I will never forget all three of us sitting there drinking XXX beer and listening to a Spanish band doing ‘Spinning Wheel.’ What a enjoyable time we had. Lots of onerous laughter.”
McNamara continued to document and carry out in later years, usually with different oldies acts and at advantages.
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