The great Gregg Sutton passed away yesterday, October 22nd, a songwriter whose work is respected the world over, even by those who have never heard the American musician’s name, because there’s nary a person that isn’t familiar with Sam Brown’s “Stop!” which he co-wrote. Yet there were many more, including numbers he helped Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa deliver, as well as the brilliant “”Devil And Jesus” from Eric Burdon’s latest album, “Tonight” from Joe Cocker’s repertoire, and “You’re All That Matters To Me” from Curtis Stigers’ stellar debut.
More so, a solid bassist, Gregg toured with Bob Dylan, as preserved for posterity on “Real Live” – after serving as a musical director for Andy Kaufman and reprised his role as conductor of Carnegie Hall Orchestra in the “Man On The Moon” film – and was a part of a few bands, among them LONE JUSTICE, where he performed alongside Maria McKee with whom he composed “Breath” that became a minor hit, and KGB, alongside Carmine Appice. Sutton has never stopped working, singing his own “Danger Zone” on Muddy Manninen’s "Long Player" and entertaining his Facebook audience with little concerts during the pandemic and teaching music in school, while warmly remembering “Shocked” which Chris Thompson voiced with NIGHT before Cocker did it too, “How Much” for Jeff Healey which Billy Ray Cyrus would go on to cover, “Love Comes Knockin'” for Percy Sledge on a record produced by Gregg’s old colleague Barry Goldberg, and “More Than Memories” for Tom Jones: all these pieces show the wide spectrum of Sutton’s expertise – something the veteran never tried to apply to his solo oeuvre, as there’s only one platter released under his name, “Soft As A Sidewalk” from 1979.
We talked a few times and discussed the possibility of an interview but, sadly, it will never happen now that he died to be fondly recalled by many.