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Bob Shane, last surviving original member of Kingston Trio, dead at 85

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Bob Shane, last surviving original member of Kingston Trio, dead at 85

Bob Shane, the last original surviving member of the Kingston Trio, died.

The member of the popular folk group was also the vocalist of the ballad "Tom Dooley", which sold millions of songs, among other hits.

Shane died on Sunday in a mental hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, at the age of 85. Mike Marvin, cousin and substitute son of fellow Nick Reynolds, founder of the Kingston Trio, confirmed the death, but did not immediately know the cause of death.

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In this archive photo from January 31, 1967, the members of the Kingston Trio, from the left: Bob Shane, John Stewart and Nick Reynolds are depicted in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. Shane, the last surviving original member of the popular popular group Kingston Trio and lead singer of the ballad "Tom Dooley" and many other hits, died on Sunday, January 26, 2020, in Phoenix. He was 85 years old.
(AP)

Shane, Reynolds and Dave Guard were artists on the San Francisco club circuit in the 1950s and debuted nationally in 1958 with their eponymous debut album, which featured "Tom Dooley", an old pattern inspired by the conviction of a confederate veteran for murder . The song reached number one on the Billboard pop charts, won a Grammy for best country and western music (there was no folk category) and helped launch the so-called folk revival with other artists, including Joan Baez; Pedro, Paulo and Maria; and eventually Bob Dylan.

Well cut and kind, they were criticized by some folk artists for being too smart and for avoiding political statements. But the Kingston Trio was one of the country's top artists for years to come. Five Kingston Trio albums topped the Billboard charts, with favorite songs, including "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?", "500 Miles", "It was a very good year", later recorded by Frank Sinatra and "Sloop John B" , then a Beach Boys hit.

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His success continued even after Guard left in 1961 and was replaced by John Stewart. But in the mid-1960s, the Beatles arrived, Dylan played rock and the folk market was in decline. The trio ended in 1967, although Shane continued to tour and record with various incarnations of the group in the decades that followed. He retired from performing in 2004 after suffering a heart attack.

Guard, who Shane had known since both were in high school in Hawaii, Shane's homeland, died in 1991. Reynolds and Stewart, who wrote “Daydream Believer” and other Monkees hits, died in 2008. The Kingston Trio received a Honorary Grammy in 2011.

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“Their music was a balm for the growing distress of a generation that would soon turn our country and our world upside down,” wrote Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary, in 2014. “They released capitulations to songs they felt yourself effortlessly, but genuine, cool, but thoughtful, understanding, but it's no big deal ”.

Shane was married twice, most recently to Bobbi Childress, and had five children.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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