Remembering Little Feat’s Lowell George

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Lowell George (in front) with his LIttle Feat bandmates

Out on a solo tour following the break-up of his band Little Feat and the release of his debut solo album, Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here, Lowell George succumbed to heart failure – thought to be caused in part by his obesity and heavy drug use – in his hotel room in Arlington, VA, on June 29, 1979, following a show in Washington, DC.

To those who enjoyed Little Feat’s superb albums and stunning live performances in the 1970s it was a loss of immense proportions. George was just 34.

The guitarist, songwriter and singer, born April 13, 1945, started Little Feat in Los Angeles in 1969 after leaving Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention. The band’s seven studio albums and one two-disc live set during George’s lifetime earned critical praise and a small but avid cadre of devoted followers – in 1975, Jimmy Page named Little Feat as his favorite American band.

They never managed to break through on pop radio and into the mainstream. Their sound was the band’s own distinctive Southern-inflected gumbo of rootsy rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and country with hints of jazz, boogie-woogie and more often set within a deeply funky groove, highlighted by George’s searing and original slide guitar work and masterful musicianship throughout the group. They are widely recognized as one of the finest rock musical units of the 1970s.

Watch George sing in a Little Feat rehearsal clip…

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George was the group’s leader and primary singer. His songs ranged from wittily potent to heartrending to artily bohemian: “Willin'” from the group’s first album (and redone on its second) has become all but a roots music standard.

Keyboard player Bill Payne and second guitarist Paul Barrere were also strong writers and singers who vied for the spotlight. Internal pressures within the group led them to break up in 1979.

After George’s death the remaining band members reunited as Little Feat in 1987 with, initially, former Pure Prairie League frontman Craig Fuller as lead singer. But neither they nor any other band has ever managed to replicate the glories of the George-led Little Feat at their finest.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Little Feat’s Dixie Chicken

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  1. crowesnest
    #1 crowesnest 3 July, 2018, 16:13

    Arlington.

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  2. charles
    #2 charles 2 July, 2019, 17:56

    just a simple error on lowell george article he died in arlington virginia not alexandria virginia it was at twin bridges marriott which is now torn down

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  3. Doug
    #3 Doug 14 April, 2020, 03:09

    When I was a kid, in bands, we referred to Little Feat as the thinking man’s Rolling Stones. Saw them live, on the waiting for Columbus tour. Phenomenal!

    Reply this comment
  4. J.T.
    #4 J.T. 30 June, 2020, 11:34

    Man that Brother sounded like a reunion of Van Morrison , the Band & a few other favorites
    I fail to pin point @ the moment., but WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SOUL & TALENT Prolific & for Everyman with ears to hear

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