December 27, 2008 – Delaine Alvin “Delaney” Bramlett was born on July 1st, 1939 in Pontotoc Mississippi. Life in his hometown wasn’t for the budding music man and the only way to survive was to pick cotton or join the Armed Services. As a young kid however he was hanging around a studio in town watching everything and did some early demos for another Mississippian, Elvis Presley, as well as played a cardboard box as a drum on a George Jones record.
Delaney joined the Navy for three years and said goodbye to Mississippi. After his release from the Navy with Mississippi in his heart and his feet in Los Angeles he moved his family to be with him, where he has remained ever since.
Living in Los Angeles now, he became a regular on the TV show Shindig as a Shindog, the house band. He was already busy writing with the likes of Joey Cooper, Mac Davis and Jackie DeShannon. Over the years, some of his songs have reached “standard” status such as “Superstar”, “Never Ending Song of Love” and “Let It Rain, among others.
Known as a great songwriter, singer and musician, he has also been a mentor to some of the very best: Eric Clapton, George Harrison, J.J. Cale and Bobby Whitlock to name just a few.
After Eric Clapton joined Delaney on tour he produced and co-wrote songs for Clapton’s first solo LP. Due to contractual obligations he relinquished the writer credit to his then wife, Bonnie Bramlett enabling him to keep them in the family. Clapton still credits Delaney for pushing him to sing and teaching him the art.
He met Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell in 1967 and married her seven days later. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends shared the stage with “Friends” that included Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, George Harrison, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons and John Lennon to name just a few. A complete list of collaborations both in songwriting and performance reads like a history of Rock and Roll. Delaney & Bonnie released five outstanding albums, their first recording being “Home” on Stax Records. Hit singles such as “Soul Shake,” “Never Ending Song of Love,” and “Only You Know & I Know” kept them on the charts. The duo broke up personally and professionally in 1973.
George Harrison had his first slide bottle placed in his hand by Delaney who quickly taught George how to play slide and write a Gospel song. Out of that lesson came “My Sweet Lord”.
The great attraction of Delaney was no doubt the raw soulful sounds and the voice that could tear your heart out with emotion no matter where you came from. Just being in a room with him made you a part of his special style and music.
Delaney Bramlett died from complications during gallbladder surgery on Dec 27, 2008 at age 69.