Folk Singer Odetta Dies of Heart Disease Complications
Wed, 03 Dec 2008 15:16:06
Odetta—the critically-acclaimed folk singer who planned on playing Barack Obama's inauguration next month—died on Tuesday after a long battle with heart disease. She was 77.
While she was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital three weeks ago for kidney failure, Odetta had appeared at 60 shows in the past two years. According to her manager, Doug Yeager, "The power would just come out of her like people wouldn't believe."
Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Harry Belafonte are all considered direct descendants of Odetta's sound, which first spread in the 1950s. As Dylan told Playboy in 1978, "The first thing that turned me on to folk singing was Odetta. (There was) just something vital and personal (in her music). Right then and there, I went out and traded my electric guitar and amplifier for an acoustical guitar."
Odetta's last performances were a massive gig on October 4 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and on October 25-26 in Toronto.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff