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Monday
Dec102012

Spirit Drummer Ed Cassidy Dies at 89

Spirit (Ed Cassidy, 2nd from left); Michael Ochs Archives/Getty ImagesEd Cassidy, the drummer who teamed with his stepson Randy California to create the jazz-influenced sound of the band Spirit, died of cancer at age 89 on Thursday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  Spirit was one of the West Coast’s premiere rock groups in the 1960s, with hits such as "I Got a Line on You" and "Nature’s Way." 

Cassidy came from a jazz background and was nicknamed "Mr. Skin" for his shaved head.  He was a founding member of the Rising Sons with Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder, and had jammed with jazz legends like Dexter Gordon and Chet Baker before starting Spirit.

Spirit had 11 albums on the U.S. charts between 1968 and 1977, and were also known for tunes such as "1984," "Fresh Garbage," and "Animal Zoo." Other original members of Spirit included singer Jay Ferguson, pianist John Locke and bassist Mark Andes.  Spirit was so popular that when a little-known band named Led Zeppelin played their first concert in the U.S. in 1968, they were Spirit's opening act.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio