David Lasley – an American artist, songwriter and longtime backup vocalist for a series of legendary artists – passed away on December 9 at the age of 74, Billboards confirmed. In addition to his solo career that helped him reach the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982’s “If I Had My Wish Tonight,” Lasley also sang back-up for Burt Bacharach, Neil Diamond, Luther Vandross, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and more.
Lasley co-wrote Bonnie Raittof “I Ain’t Gonna Let You Break My Heart Again” and “Got You On My Mind.” Raitt went on social media with words of love about Lasley, saying, “I am so sorry to hear of the passing of another beautiful friend and bright light in our musical world, golden voice David Lasley.”
– Bonnie Raitt (@TheBonnieRaitt) December 10, 2021
According to a 1986 LA time interview, Lasley grew up just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he sang in his local church. Lasley, his late sister Julie, and his childhood friends later formed a band called The Utopias and together made four records, which they promoted at local radio stations. . After the group’s disbandment, Lasley continued to participate in the production of ‘s tours Hair! from 1972-1974.
After his time in Utopias, Lasley formed a musical group called Rosie, released two albums on RCA discs in 1976 and 1977. Years later, he lent his talents to commercials, voicing commercials for Miller Beer and Seagram’s Cooler.
Lasley’s four-octave vocal range makes him a coveted backup singer, especially with his falsetto voice. Throughout his career, he has also worked behind James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler and Ringo Starr.
In the early 1980s, Lasley signed with Geffen Records but bought the contract out when dissatisfied with the label asking him to “copy other artists”, according to LA time interview.
Lasley also appeared in 20 feet from Stardom, a 2013 documentary about backup singers that won Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Academy Awards. In 2021, a serious illness caused Lasley to amputate his arm, according to one GoFundMe started by McCuller, his friend and collaborator of 51 years. He is survived by his brother, Dean Lasley.
Other tributes can be found below.
– James Taylor (@JamesTaylor_com) December 9, 2021
Last night, my dear friend, David Lasley, passed away into eternity. David is one of the greatest singers/songwriters of all time the world has never known. He has sung and written on many classic records over the past 5 decades that have become the soundtrack of our lives. pic.twitter.com/Fpbz1Ur9t4
– Desmond Child (@DesmondChild) December 9, 2021
We are deeply saddened by the passing of beloved musician, singer + recording artist David Lasley, whose creative talent, angelic voice and chivalrous spirit shine through in his work. with James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield and more. RIP, David. pic.twitter.com/XFlFv708DI
– ASCAP (@ASCAP) December 10, 2021
https://www.billboard.com/music/music-news/david-lasley-dead-obituary-1235008335/ David Lasley, Musician-Songwriter and Reserve Vocalist, Dies at No. 74 – Billboard