Texas-born singer-songwriter Dobie Gray, best known for his hit song “Drift Away,” has passed away, per his official website. He was 71 years old. Gray, whose real name is unknown (he may have been born Leonard Victor Ainsworth or Laurence Darrow Brown) was given the nickname “Dobie” by Sonny Bono, who was referencing sitcom “The Many Lives of Dobie Gillis.”
Gray enjoyed success in the 1960s and early ’70s with “The In Crowd” and Mentor Williams’ “Drift Away,” which would remain a staple song for years to come. Most recently Detroit rapper Uncle Kracker (a Kid Rock protege) enjoyed success with a 2003 version of the song he recorded with Gray, which broke adult contemporary records and transcended radio genres.
The Dec. 6 death announcement offers no cause, simply reading, “Dobie Gray: July 26, 1940 – December 6, 2011.”
Kracker tweeted, “My heart goes out to Dobie’s family this evening. RIP Dobie Gray. Thank you for the music. You will not be forgotten.”