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Lowell Thomas George (April 13, 1945 – June 29, 1979) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer, who was the main guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Little Feat.

Early years lowell george

Lowell George was born in Hollywood, California the son of Willard H. George, a furrier who raised chinchillas and supplied furs to the movie studios.

George's first instrument was the harmonica. At the age of 6 he appeared on the Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour performing a duet with his older brother, Hampton. At Hollywood High School Lowell took up the flute in the school marching band and orchestra. He started to play guitar at age 11, continued with the harmonica, and later learned to play the saxophone and sitar. He played guitar with fellow schoolmate, and future bandmate, Paul Barrere.

Performing

Early years
George's first band, the Factory, formed in 1965, released at least one single on the Uni label, "Smile, Let Your Life Begin" co-authored by Lowell George, with a delightful b-side "When I Was An Apple". Members included future Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward (he replaced Dallas Taylor in Sept 1966), and Martin Kibbee (a.k.a. Fred Martin) who would later co-write several Little Feat songs with George, including "Dixie Chicken" and "Rock & Roll Doctor". Frank Zappa produced two tracks for the Factory. The band made an appearance on the 1960s sitcom F Troop as "The Bed Bugs".

Following the disbanding of the Factory, George briefly joined the band The Standells. There followed a few months in late 1968 to early 1969 where George was a member of Zappa's band, the Mothers of Invention and can be heard on both the album Weasels Ripped My Flesh, and playing guitar and singing on several tracks on the first disc of Zappa's You Can't Do That on Stage Anymore, Vol. 5, including a version of "Here Lies Love", with Lowell as lead vocalist. At a 1975 Little Feat show in Rochester, New York, George said he was fired from the Mothers Of Invention because "I wrote a song about dope." The song was "Willin'." George also joined Peter Tork in his first post-Monkee band "Release".

Little Feat
After leaving the Mothers of Invention, George invited fellow musicians to form a new band, which they named Little Feat. George usually (but not always) played lead guitar and focused on slide guitar. Ry Cooder played the slide on the original Little Feat recording, although George re-recorded some of his material. Mark Brend wrote that George's "use of compression defined his sound and gave him the means to play his extended melodic lines."

Outside of his band, George played guitar on John Cale's 1973 album Paris 1919, Harry Nilsson's Son of Schmilsson album (Take 54) and (uncredited but verified by Leo Nocentelli) The Meters' "Just Kissed My Baby" in 1974.

George in 1977
In the 1970s, Little Feat released a series of studio albums: Little Feat, Sailin' Shoes, Dixie Chicken, Feats Don't Fail Me Now, The Last Record Album, and Time Loves A Hero. The group's 1978 live album Waiting for Columbus became their best-selling album.

In an interview with Bill Flanagan conducted eleven days before his death, George stated that he was keen to re-form Little Feat without Bill Payne and Paul Barrère in order to reassert his full control over the group. Due to tensions within the group, especially between George and Payne and, to a lesser extent, Barrère, regarding musical direction and leadership, Payne and Barrère left the group in 1979.

George was also a producer, and produced the Grateful Dead's 1978 album Shakedown Street, as well as Little Feat's records, Valerie Carter's 1977 release Just A Stone's Throw Away, and George's 1979 solo album Thanks, I'll Eat it Here.

Death

On June 15, 1979, George began a tour in support of his solo album. George collapsed in his Arlington, Virginia hotel room and died on June 29, 1979. An autopsy showed that he died of an accidental drug overdose. Lowell George's body was cremated in Washington, D.C. on August 2. His ashes were flown back to Los Angeles, where they were scattered in the Pacific Ocean from his fishing boat.


Source: Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)