Monday, October 09, 2006

Death of a Moonglow

Prentiss Barnes, bass singer with the Moonglows, has died aged 81 after a life that involved highs and lows. The Moonglows - named by Alan Freed after his Moondog nickname - had some of the biggest doowop hits of the 50s, including Sincerely and Ten Commandments of Love. The group was featured in one of the early rock and roll films Rock Rock Rock, along with Chuck Berry, Frankie Lymon, LaVern Baker and the Johnny Burnette Trio.
But after the heady days of the 50s and the decline of doowop, an attempt at a solo comeback ended in disaster. His car was hit by a train on a level crossing and he survived minus one arm and with a shattered hip. He turned to drink and survived on social security until a trust fund set up in the 80s helped him recover some of his lost royalties. And then the final tragedy - he died in a car crash.
Prentiss Barnes was never a household name, but his deep voice in the classic Moonglows sides for Chess was unmistakable.


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