July 14, 2021: Two Members of Cinderella Die on Same Day

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The members of Cinderella during their 25th Anniversary tour

Gary Corbett, a producer, songwriter and keyboard player best known for co-writing “She Bop,” a Top 5 single for Cyndi Lauper in 1984, and his touring work with KISS and Cinderella, died July 14, 2021. Corbett, believed to be 62 years old, died after a battle with lung cancer, one day before his birthday. In a stunningly horrible coincidence, he was the second member of the glam rock band Cinderella to die that day, following the death at 58 of the group’s longtime lead guitarist, Jeff LaBar.

Corbett’s sister, Mindy Cohen, announced his passing. “Those who knew Gary know that we and the world of music have all lost a very talented, funny, kind and gentle soul,” she wrote.

Corbett had been ill for some time and a GoFundMe page had been established to help defray the cost of his mounting medical bills.

The next evening, on July 15, the members of Cinderella – Tom Keifer, Eric Brittingham and Fred Coury, wrote, “Late last night, while we were still trying to process the sad news of losing Jeff, we got word that our longtime keyboard player Gary Corbett lost his battle with cancer. Gry was a talented musician and good hearted friend. He toured with Cinderella on and off for many years. Our deepest condolences go out to Gary’s wife Lenora and his family and love ones. RIP Gary.”

Corbett grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and began taking piano lessons at age four. By the time he was ten years old, he was earning money playing private parties on weekends. After graduating from high school, he was part of Ian Hunter’s touring band.

Several years later, he enjoyed his first significant success, co-writing “She Bop” with Lauper and several others. The #3 pop hit was one of four Top 5 singles on her 1983 debut, She’s So Unusual, which has sold a reported 16 million copies worldwide.

With his first royalty check, Corbett bought a Yamaha DX7, and an Apple IIe home computer, complete with MIDI interface. Being one of the “first kids on the block” with these amazing new tools, he quickly became one of New York’s busiest keyboard player/programmers. After a few years of working in many of New York’s studios, he was finishing a project at Electric Lady Studios. During a break, a casual conversation with a fellow keyboardist led him to being hired for Lou Gramm’s debut solo tour. Before that tour was done, Corbett was asked to go out on the next KISS tour (1987’s “Crazy Nights”) to play keyboards. In between KISS tours, he toured and recorded with many other artists, serving as musical director for Debbie Gibson and Taylor Dayne. In the beginning of 1991 joined up with Cinderella, for their “Heartbreak Station” tour.

Amidst other work, Corbett continued to tour with Cinderella.

Watch him perform with Cinderella in 2011

When the news first arrived that LaBar had died, the members of Cinderella wrote, “Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff. The bond between us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something that we as a band uniquely shared. Those memories with Jeff will be forever alive in our hearts. It’s unimaginable that one of our band brothers has left us.”

Jeff LaBar

LaBar, born March 18, 1963, in Darby, Penn., joined Cinderella in 1985 after the departure of original guitarist Michael Schermick. The Philadelphia-based band’s 1986 debut album for Mercury Records, Night Songs, was an enormous success. Its single, “Nobody’s Fool,” reached #13 on the Hot 100, and the band’s exposure on MTV led to sales of more than three million copies in the U.S.

Cinderella proved to be a popular concert draw, opening tours for such classic rock bands as Poison, Van Halen and Bon Jovi.

Their next two albums, each released two years apart, had similar sales success, with the band scoring pop success with the power ballads “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone)” (#12) and “Coming Home” (#20).

Cinderella’s fourth, and final, studio album was released in 1994, faring poorly. They went on hiatus numerous items and returned in 2006 for a highly successful 20th anniversary tour with Poison in 2006. LaBar released a solo album in 2014, One For the Road, touring with his son.

Related: Musicians we lost in 2021

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