Friday, June 29, 2018

George Cameron (1947–2018)

George Cameron, singer, drummer, and original member of the Left Banke, died earlier this week at the age of seventy.

When it comes to the Left Banke, I am very late to the show. I started listening to the group just a few months ago, after seeing Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri and hearing the Four Tops version of “Walk Away Renée,” which made me remember the Rickie Lee Jones version, which made me think: I should really look into the Left Banke. I bought the group’s available LPs (two, reissued as CDs), downloaded a compilation (the two LPs and two singles, from iTunes), and discovered an extensive website about the group at

Suffice to say that the Left Banke, though shortlived, was fairly brilliant: Beatlesque harmonies, psychedelic touches, and great (“baroque”) pop songs. Like the Beach Boys, the group had a musical mastermind at its center, the songwriter and keyboardist Michael Brown (d. 2015). And like Brian Wilson, Michael Brown had a musical father who brought considerable misery to his son’s life. The Beach Boys, in one form or another, have gone on and on. The Left Banke fell apart in the late 1960s — with brief reunion appearances in recent years, and with plans earlier this year for a reunion with Steve Martin Caro, the group’s long-absent lead singer.

Here’s George Cameron, who usually sang harmony, taking a rare lead: “Goodbye Holly” (Tom Feher), from The Left Banke Too (Smash, 1968).

[In the small-world department: our friend Seymour Barab played cello on the Left Banke’s second hit, “Pretty Ballerina.” I wish I could have asked him about that.]

comments: 2

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe that it has been over 52 years since the version by the Left Banke came out. I was so into music in those days. I fell asleep at night listening to WLS out of Chicago (I lived in Kansas) or KOMA out of Oklahoma City. Those AM stations played some great music.

I listened to the Left Banke version of Walk Away Renee and don't remember the Four Tops version.

For me sometimes the Left Banke got lost in the The Association shadows as they had much the same sound.

Love to read the updates on the "old" music and musicians!


Michael Leddy said...

I vividly remember hearing “Walk Away Renée” in a discount department store’s record department back then. But I never paid attention to the group — I was a Beatles kid. My loss!