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May 24, 2015

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Spirit Drummer Ed Cassidy Dies

Spirit Drummer Ed Cassidy Dies

Spirit's Ed Cassidy has died. says the drummer passed away Thursday in San Jose, California. The cause of death hasn't been revealed. Ed was 89. While Cassidy worked with numerous artists over the course of his lengthy career, he's best remembered for his days with Spirit, whose biggest hit was 1969's "I Got A Line On You." Cassidy's drumming style, which included striking the drums with his bare hands, is said to have influenced Led Zeppelin's John Bonham. Zeppelin opened for Spirit on a 1969 tour.

Cassidy began his life in music as a teenager in Bakersfield, California in the late 1930s. After serving in the Navy during World War Two he served as a drummer with a variety of acts, ranging from big bands to country and western groups to the San Francisco Opera. In the '50s Cassidy worked with such jazz greats as Roland Kirk, Art Pepper, and Gerry Mulligan. He formed the Red Roosters in 1965 with guitarist Randy California, bassist Mark Andes, and singer Jay Ferguson, which eventually added keyboardist John Locke and changed their name to Spirit. After the original band split up in the early '70s, Cassidy continued to perform with other incarnations of Spirit until California's death in 1997. Ed was also an actor, appearing in the the films "2010" and "The Escape Artist" as well as the soap "General Hospital."

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