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Mary Katherine Obit: Kenny Rankin RIP June 2009 (6) Obit: Kenny Rankin RIP June 2009 08 Jun 09

Press Release

Kenny Rankin, the renowned singer, songwriter and musician, died from complications of lung cancer at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles on June 7. He was 69.

Rankin's music career spanned 50 years beginning with a handful of singles for Decca Records in the late 1950's. A few years later he signed with Columbia Records and found himself playing guitar on Bob Dylan's landmark 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. Soon after, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson became such a fan that Rankin was invited to appear on the show more than 20 times. Carson also contributed liner notes to Rankin's 1967 debut LP Mind Dusters, which included his much covered pop standard "Peaceful."

Growing up in the multicultural hotbed of New York's Washington Heights neighborhood, he absorbed a broad array of musical influences, from Afro-Cuban to Top 40 to Jazz to Brazilian.

Rankin's supple pristine tenor earned him status as a singer's singer, while his songwriting talents have been widely recognized by his peers. Some of his earlier compositions include Peggy Lee's "In The Name Of Love" as well as versions of "Haven't We Met" performed by Carmen McRae and Mel Torme.

Rankin's own unique gift for reworking classic songs such as The Beatles' "Blackbird," which he recorded for his Silver Morning album, so impressed Paul McCartney that he asked Rankin to perform his interpretation of the song when McCartney and John Lennon were inducted into the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.

The much acclaimed The Kenny Rankin Album was recorded in 1976 live with a 60-piece orchestra, arranged and conducted by the legendary Don Costa, creating what many now consider the first contemporary "torch" album.

Throughout the last 20 years, Rankin continued to tour and perform for his steadfast and devoted following.

Rankin was recently signed to the Sly Dog imprint of Mack Avenue Records, and was scheduled to record a few weeks ago with the famed producer Phil Ramone when the label learned of his illness, which led to the cancellation of those sessions.

States Mack Avenue President Denny Stilwell, "The news on Sunday of Kenny's passing took us all by surprise. That he was still at the top of his game is one of the saddest parts of his passing for me. He performed the new material in our office over the last few months and his voice was still in its finest form - he sounded absolutely amazing. Our hearts and prayers are with his family."

He is survived by his son, two daughters and granddaughter. Funeral arrangements are pending, and a memorial service in Los Angeles is being planned.

For further information, please contact Don Lucoff at DL Media
Sheila Eldridge at Miles Ahead Entertainment

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