March 16, 2012. Singer Dan Hicks poses for a photo in Mill Valley, Calif. (The Associated Press)
Dan Hicks, a musician whose work in the 1960s helped define San Francisco’s psychedelic sound, has died. He was 74.
The singer, songwriter and bandleader who led the musically eclectic band Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks died Saturday after a two-year battle with throat and liver cancer, his wife, CT Hicks, said on his website and his Facebook page.
“He was true blue, one of a kind, and did it all his own way always,” she wrote. “To all who loved him, know that he will live forever in the words, songs, and art that he spent his life creating.”
Hicks began his musical career in San Francisco in the 1960s, where he played drums for rock band The Charlatans, which, along with Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead, had significant influence on the city’s music scene.
He formed the Hot Licks in the early 1970s, which drew critical and commercial success by blending country, blues, jazz, swing and humorous lyrics. The group’s hits include “I Scare Myself” and “Canned Music.” The group’s last album, “Last Train to Hicksville,” helped land Hicks on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.
The Hot Licks broke up in 1973 at the height of its popularity.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that he later said he disbanded the Hot Licks because he didn’t want to be a bandleader anymore and called himself a loner.
Hicks went on to record more than a dozen more albums.
Hicks was acknowledged for his influence on other musicians such as Tom Waits and Elvis Costello, the Chronicle reported.
In addition to this wife, Hicks is survived by his stepdaughter Sara Wasserman.