Delaney Bramlett dies in L.A.

Mon Dec 29, 2008 10:18am EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rock guitarist Delaney Bramlett, who collaborated with such artists as George Harrison and Eric Clapton, died in a Los Angeles hospital following gallbladder surgery. He was 69.

His wife, Susan Lanier-Bramlett, said he died on Saturday after "seven hard months" of ill health.

"I held him and he held on up until the last breath with which he went in peace to the light and on into eternity," she said in a statement.

The Mississippi native first gained renown in the late 1960s as part of the southern-fried rhythm and blues combo Delaney & Bonnie, which he formed with his first wife, Bonnie Lynn. The gifted duo were often overshadowed by their "Friends," as their backing group was known. Among them was Clapton, who regularly performed as a low-key sideman.

Bramlett, in turn, produced Clapton's self-titled debut solo album in 1970, and co-wrote most of the songs, including the gospel-tinged hit single "Let It Rain."

Clapton brought Delaney & Bonnie to England, and recruited such musicians as Harrison and Dave Mason to perform at their shows. According to Bramlett's biography, he taught Harrison how to play slide guitar and to write a gospel song, which led to the recording of the former Beatle's hit single "My Sweet Lord."

Delaney & Bonnie enjoyed a few hits of their own, including the 1971 tune "Never Ending Song Of Love," but their popularity faded after Clapton moved on. The couple divorced after releasing their last album together, 1972's "Together."

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; editing by Jackie Frank)