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Merl Saunders (sometimes spelled Merle), born February 14, 1934 in San Mateo, California, and died October 24, 2008, was an American multi-genre musician who played piano and keyboards, favoring the Hammond B3 organ.Read More...
In the 1970s, Saunders began collaborating with Jerry Garcia, with the Grateful Dead and with Garcia's bands The Legion of Mary and Reconstruction.
He's led his own bands, as Merl Saunders and Friends, playing live dates with Garcia, as well as Mike Bloomfield, David Grisman, Tom Fogerty, Vassar Clements, Kenneth Nash, John Kahn and Sheila E.
In 1990 he released the world music and New Age classic album Blues From the Rainforest, a collaboration with Jerry Garcia and Muruga Booker. This led to the release of a video which chronicled Saunders' journey to the Amazon, and the subsequent album Fiesta Amazonica.
He worked with musicians Paul Pena, Bonnie Raitt, Phish, Miles Davis, and B.B. King. Merl also recorded with The Dinosaurs, a "supergroup" of first-generation Bay Area rock musicians.
Released material own Sumertone (his own record label) and also recorded on Fantasy Records, Galaxy Records and Relix as well as the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia labels. He worked with the Grateful Dead on the theme music for the 1985 TV show The New Twilight Zone, and with Mickey Hart on the score for the show. He was a director of The Recording Academy, and did the sound design for several of the Grammy Awards.
Main studio, live and compilation releases
1968 - Soul Grooving - Merl Saunders Trio and Big Band
1972 - Heavy Turbulence - with Tom Fogerty
1973 - Fire Up - with Tom Fogerty and Jerry Garcia
1973 - Live at the Keystone - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn & Bill Vitt
1974 - Merl Saunders
1976 - You Can Leave Your Hat On - with Aunt Monk
1979 - Do I Move You
1982 - San Francisco After Dark
1988 - Meridien Dreams
1988 - Keystone Encores Vol. 1 - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn & Bill Vitt
1988 - Keystone Encores Vol. 2 - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn & Bill Vitt
1988 - Live at the Keystone Vol. 1 - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn & Bill Vitt
1988 - Live at the Keystone Vol. 2 - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn & Bill Vitt
1990 - Blues From The Rainforest - with the Rainforest Band
1991 - Save The Planet So We'll Have Someplace To Boogie
1992 - Fire Up Plus - with Jerry Garcia, John Kahn, Tom Fogerty and Ron Tutt
1993 - It's In The Air
1995 - Still Having Fun
1997 - Keepers - Merl Saunders and Friends
1998 - Fiesta Amazonica
1998 - The Twilight Zone (Vol. 1): Original Soundtrack from the TV series - Grateful Dead & Merl Saunders
1998 - Merl Saunders Live With His Funky Friends
2000 - Struggling Man - Merl Saunders & His Funky Friends
2004 - Still Groovin'
2004: Keystone Berkeley: September 1, 1974 with Jerry Garcia
2006: Well-Matched: The Best of Merl Saunders & Jerry Garcia (Fantasy)
Top SongsTotal plays on Last.fm over the last 6 months
- After Midnight - 7,984 plays
- LyricsMaybe you'll wanna give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat.
And maybe you'll go away and never call,
And a taste of honey is worse that none at all.
Oh little girl!
- Hi-Heel Sneakers - 2,550 plays
- Mystery Train - 2,538 plays
- LyricsWell they tell me of a pie up in the sky
Waiting for me when I die
But between the day you're born and when you die
They never seem to hear even your cry
- Positively 4th Street - Live - 2,733 plays
- Welcome To The Basement - 2,194 plays
- It's Too Late (She's Gone) - 1,584 plays
- Keepers - Previously Unreleased Take - 1,830 plays
- Positively 4th Street - 1,715 plays