Sixties Folk Rock artist Tom Rapp died February 11 in Melbourne, FL as a result of cancer at the age of 70.

Rapp performed with the group Pearls Before Swine. Fans of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” have heard some of Rapp’s music.

Noting that he liked to write songs about old things – myths and legends -, Rapp referred to his musical style as transcendental rock.

During his music career Rapp shared the stage with a number of fellow musicians including Pink Floyd, Phil Ochs, and Dave van Ronk; and it is said that the hit song “Rocket Man” by Sir Elton and Bernie Taupin was inspired by Pearls Before Swine.

Thomas Dale Rapp was born March 8, 1947 in Bottineau, North Dakota but moved with his family to Minnesota when he was only six years old. That was also the same time he got his first guitar. Young Tom began entering various talent contests where on one occasion he beat out another Minnesota resident by the name of Robert Zimmerman – later to be known as Bob Dylan.

The family again moved and this time it was to Eau Gallie, Florida – near Melbourne on the Atlantic coast. It is there that Rapp created the group Pearls Before Swine with high school friends.

Reportedly the group sold 200,000 copies of the debut album “One Nation Underground” but Rapp noted he never received any money from the album.

By 1969 Rapp was the only original member of the group remaining and used freelance and session musicians to complete the group.

Turning away from music, Rapp became a civil rights attorney in 1976.

Rapp is survived by his third wife Lynn, son David, sister Kathy and Patty, and a granddaughter.


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