George Frayne, aka rock star Commander Cody, has died at 77

George Frayne, who as the leader of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen enjoyed a cult following in the 1970s with favorites such as “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “Smoke

NEW YORK – George Frayne, who as the leader of Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen enjoyed a cult following in the 1970s with favorite parties and concerts such as “Hot Rod Lincoln” and “Smoke!” Smoke! Smoke! (This Cigarette), “is dead.

Frayne died in Saratoga Springs, New York on Sunday, according to his wife Sua Casanova, who did not immediately provide further details. He was 77 years old and had been diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

Formed in 1967, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen draw inspiration from influences ranging from Western swing to jump blues. They became a popular touring and recording group during the first half of the 1970s, moving across the country in a converted Greyhound bus. They specialize in uptempo remakes, notably the top 10 “Hot Rod Lincoln”; “Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That cigarette)”, a novelty from the 1940s; “Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar” and “Diggy Liggy Lo”. The sound was boogie country-rock and the vibe was light and ready to go wild, as defined by Frayne’s talking and witty blues voice.

Frayne was originally from Boise, Idaho, who grew up in New York and Long Island and became interested in piano, art and design early on. He attended the University of Michigan as an undergraduate and graduate student and still lived in Ann Arbor when he helped train Commander Cody with Billy C. Farlow, Bill Kirchen and others. he would call “neo-radicals specializing in a form of quasi-social chaos.” Their name was lifted from old movie serials – including a 1950s sci-fi adventure starring the space fighter. , Commander Cody.

They relocated to the Bay Area in California in 1969, when a trippy name like Commander Cody and his Lost Plane Airmen matched well with local groups such as the Charlatans, Quicksilver Messenger Service and (better known), Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. They had success in the early 1970s with “Hot Rod Lincoln” and released six albums from 1971 to 1975, including the famous “Live from Deep in the Heart of Texas”, while resisting Warner Bros. efforts to keep up. model on the trading country. rock of the Eagles.

The band split in the mid-1970s, but Frayne (still calling himself Commander Cody) continued to tour and record, performing with Jerry Garcia, Elvis Costello and Sammy Hagar among others and releasing albums such as ” Dopers, Drunks and Everyday Losers “. and “Worst Case”. He also painted, made films and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

In 2009, Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen were elected to the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.


This story has been incorrectly corrected for several references to Airmen from the Lost Planet.

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