The Left Banke’s Steve Martin Caro Dies

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Steve Martin Caro, an original member of the Left Banke, who scored with their very first single–and biggest hit–in 1966 with “Walk Away Renée,” died Jan. 14, 2020. The announcement was made on the group’s Facebook page. Caro, who originally went by the name Steve Martin while in the group, then changed it in the ’80s to avoid being mistaken for the comedian of that name, was 71.

The statement on the group’s page reads, “It is with a heavy heart that I have to inform you that Steve has passed away last night. Another great voice has been taken away too early. We will all miss him and all that he gave to the Left Banke. Say hi to George and Mike for me…”

“George and Mike” refers to the two members of the group who preceded Caro in death, George Cameron (who passed in 2018) and Michael Brown (who died in 2015).

At its peak, “Walk Away Renée” was side-by-side with big hits by the Stones, Beach Boys and the Monkees

The Left Banke, described as a “baroque pop” group thanks, in part, to the flute solo in “Walk Away Renée,” were formed in New York City in 1965 by keyboardist Brown, vocalist Caro (born Oct. 12, 1948), guitarist Tom Finn, drummer Warren David-Schierhorst and Cameron. Shortly thereafter, David-Schierhorst departed and Cameron replaced him on drums.

By the next year, the teenagers had a #5 single on Billboard with “Walk Away Renée” on Smash Records. Brown co-wrote it, inspired when he became infatuated with Finn’s girlfriend, Renée Fladen. “Walk Away Renée” was released in July 1966 and reached #4 on Record World on Nov. 5.

Related: The biggest radio hits of 1966

Steve Martin Caro in the Left Banke era

Ironically, the band had already become inactive during 1966 and Brown assembled a band for a proposed tour to capitalize on the song’s success. (One of its members was future actor Michael McKean on guitar.)

A follow-up single, “Pretty Ballerina,” written by Brown, was released in December 1966 and peaked at #15 the next year.

Decades after the group disbanded, a version of the group led by Cameron and including various original members toured.

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  1. RecordSteve
    #1 RecordSteve 15 January, 2020, 19:23

    Thanks for posting news now I see 20/20 =
    there will be more to report as we get older
    headed to the Rock n’Roll Heavenly Band….

    Reply this comment
  2. Lady Lynda
    #2 Lady Lynda 16 January, 2020, 01:06

    you forgot to mention Bert Sommer …

    Reply this comment
  3. Rochelle R.
    #3 Rochelle R. 16 January, 2020, 03:29

    The 2012 regrouping was led by originals George Cameron and Tom Finn. I was fortunate to see the Philadelphia show on that tour as it was their full show as opposed to the rest of the tour in which they were openers for the Zombies and did a shorter set. The next year, George Cameron took a smaller band out, sans Tom Finn. There had been hopes that Steve would rejoin the group at some point, but he never did.

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