Bramlett (July 1, 1939 – December 27, 2008) was an American singer,
songwriter, musician, and producer. Bramlett's five decade career reached
peaks in creativity, performance, and notoriety in partnership with his then
wife Bonnie Bramlett, in a revolving troupe of professional musicians and
Rock superstars dubbed Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.
Bramlett was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, United States. After a stint in
the United States Navy, Bramlett moved to Los Angeles, California in the
early 60's. There he established himself as a singer-songwriter, writing
with fellow musicians Joey Cooper, Mac Davis and Jackie DeShannon. By 1965
Bramlett was a regular member of the house band of the television show
Shindig!, the Shindogs. During this time, he worked with J.J. Cale and Leon
Russell and released some unsuccessful solo singles.
The British guitarist Eric Clapton joined Delaney, Bonnie & Friends on tour
in the late 1960s, after which Delaney produced and co-wrote songs for
Clapton's debut solo album, Eric Clapton. Clapton still credits Delaney for
pushing him to sing and teaching him the art of rock vocals. Bramlett
produced King Curtis' last LP, which had two hit singles: 'Teasin'' and
'Lonesome Long Way from Home'.
Bramlett taught then Beatle George Harrison to play slide guitar, which led
into a gospel jam that resulted in Harrison's hit 'My Sweet Lord'. Bramlett
wrote, recorded, or appeared on stage with many notable performers,
including Joe Cocker,
Janis Joplin, Billy Preston, John Lennon, The Everly Brothers, Spooner
Oldham, Steve Cropper and Billy Burnette.
Members of the Friends appearing in concert or recording with Bramlett on
Friends albums include a galaxy of stars and highly respected side men,
including Clapton, Harrison, Russell, Curtis, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman,
Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock, Jim
Keltner, Bobby Keys, and Gram Parsons.
In 2006 Bramlett was one of the duet artists on the Jerry Lee Lewis album
Last Man Standing, singing and playing guitar on 'Lost Highway'. In 2008,
the year of his death, Bramlett released his first CD in six years, A New
Kind of Blues.
Over the years, some of Bramlett's songs have reached music 'standard's'
status, such as 'Superstar', which he co-wrote with Leon Russell and his
first wife, Bonnie Bramlett. 'Superstar', was most notably recorded by The
Carpenters, reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart and spent
two weeks at number one on the Easy Listening chart that autumn en route to
going Gold. The song was also recorded by Luther Vandross, Sonic Youth, and
Usher, among others.
The Bramlett's 'Never Ending Song of Love' has been covered by others, and
appears on the soundtrack of RV and A Good Year. Bramlett co-wrote the Eric
Clapton hit, 'Let It Rain'.
On January 18, 2011, Bramlett was inducted into the Mississippi Musicians
Hall of Fame.
Described in an obituary as a 'Southern Legend', Bramlett died from
complications of gall bladder surgery on December 27, 2008, in Los Angeles,
California. Delaney was survived by his widow, Susan Lanier-Bramlett, a
brother, John Wayne Bramlett, three daughters, Michele Bramlett, Suzanne
Bramlett, Bekka Bramlett, a stepson Dylan Thomas and two grandchildren.