Keyboardist/Songwriter Richard Bell Dies
June 18, 2007 at 3:03 PM (PT)
RICHARD BELL, a veteran keyboardist and songwriter who worked with JANIS JOPLIN and THE BAND, among others, died on FRIDAY (6/15) at SUNNYBROOK HEALTH SCIENCES CENTRE in TORONTO after a long battle with multiple myeloma cancer. He was 61.
BELL began his professional career in the '60s as a member of the TORONTO band THE LAST WORDS. He joined rockabilly artist RONNIE HAWKINS AND THE HAWKS as a keyboardist in the mid-'60s and was later recruited to join JOPLIN's FULL TILT BOOGIE BAND; he played on her final studio album, "Pearl." BELL joined THE BAND in 1991 and played piano on their albums "High on the Hog," "Jubilation," and "Jericho," for which he penned "Caves of Jericho." He also performed with BOB DYLAN, JUDY COLLINS, JOE WALSH, PAUL BUTTERFIELD, THE COWBOY JUNKIES, BRUCE COCKBURN, and BONNIE RAITT.
At the time of his death, BELL was a member of the country-rock group BURRITO DELUXE. Band leader CARLTON MOODY stated, "During the brief time I knew RICHARD, I found him to be a very spiritual person who lived everyday to the fullest. Musically, he always inspired those around him to achieve a higher level. Once he entered your life, you were better because of it."
Bell also had been continuing his work on stage and in the studio with longtime collaborators COLIN LINDEN, BLACKIE & THE RODEO KINGS and PORK BELLY FUTURES.
BELL's family will hold a "Celebration of Life" ceremony in TORONTO on WEDNESDAY (6/20) at 2p at the STEAMWHISTLE BREWERY. A second service will be held in NASHVILLE at a date and time to be announced.