Members of two popular Georgia bands of the 1970s passed away in June.
Robert “Bo” Wagner, founding member and marimba player for the Atlanta-based soft-rock band Starbuck (pictured), passed away on June 20th in Santa Monica, California at age 72. The Dayton, Ohio native got an early start in music, performing in nightclubs with big bands as a drummer before he even hit his teenage years. He played and danced on The Lawrence Welk Show for three years, and toured and worked with The 5th Dimension, Roger Williams and Liberace on drums and percussion. Starbuck had its origins with the Biloxi, Mississippi band Eternity’s Children, which Bo joined in 1968. Two of that band’s members – Wagner and singer/keyboardist Bruce Blackman – formed Starbuck in Atlanta in 1974, with the group’s debut single, “Moonlight Feels Right,” reaching #2 on Billboard’s pop singles chart in 1976. The following year, the song “Everybody Be Dancin” reached #38, but the band split up in 1980 after little further success. They reunited for a series of well-received reunion shows from 2013 to 2016.
Jimmy Nalls, guitarist for the jazz-rock fusion group Sea Level died on June 22nd at his Nashville home from a bad fall as a result of the Parkinson’s disease that had afflicted him since 1995. The Washington, DC native’s career as a session musician took off when he joined Alex Taylor’s band in the early 1970s. James Taylor’s brother recorded for Capricorn Records, and Nalls played on his second album, 1972’s Dinnertime. Also playing on that album was Macon keyboardist Chuck Leavell, who, after a brief stint with The Allman Brothers Band, formed Sea Level in 1976 with Nails and ex-ABBers Lamar Williams and Jaimoe. The group recorded five albums between 1977 and 1980, with Randall Bramblett and Wings drummer Joe English eventually joining the lineup.