Marshall Tucker, the man who inspired the Marshall Tucker Band‘s name, has died at the age of 99. The Southern rockers paid tribute to the individual in a post on their social media.
Tucker wasn’t actually a member of The Marshall Tucker Band, however, he was a major part of their legacy in that they were named after him. He was a blind pianist from Columbia, S.C., about 94 miles from the band’s hometown of Spartanburg, S.C.
After the band had already formed, they were rehearsing in a warehouse in Columbia, and the key to the space had a tag with Tucker’s name on it. Frontman Doug Gray told Decades TV Network that their promoter had pressured them to come up with a name, so they went with The Marshall Tucker Band, but only intended to use the name temporarily. However, it stuck — and once they became acquainted with Tucker, he became a friend and fan of the group.
Tucker had a successful career as a business owner of a piano tuning company. According to an interview, he got into the piano at the age of 11 after hearing someone play, and then discovered that he had perfect pitch, meaning he could identify a music note by ear. He later learned how to fix pianos by touch.
See the clip below.
Tucker died at the age of 99 on Jan. 20, and The Marshall Tucker Band paid their respects on social media the following day.
“We are saddened to hear of the passing of someone very special to our hearts, for very obvious reasons. Our band’s namesake, Mr. Marshall Tucker, passed away peacefully yesterday morning at the age of 99,” the band wrote on Facebook.
“Though he was never a member of our band, we wouldn’t be here today without his historic name,” the post continued. “Marshall was blind since birth but amazingly could play the heck out of the piano. He always said his talent was simply God-given. He tuned pianos in South Carolina for decades. We are thankful for Mr. Marshall Tucker and the life he lived!”
Our condolences go out to Tucker’s loved ones. Rest in peace.