Singer-Songwriter Dwight Twilley Dead at 72
Singer-songwriter Dwight Twilley, a key figure in the "Tulsa Sound" scene who had a hit with "I'm on Fire" in the '70s, died on Wednesday at the age of 72.
According to Tulsa World, Twilley was driving alone on Oct. 14 when he suffered a stroke and crashed his vehicle into a tree. He died four days later.
The news was confirmed by his wife, Jan, and shared on the Church Studio's Facebook page. "The loss is immeasurable, and our words can't capture the depth of our grief," they wrote. "Dwight's musical prowess touched countless lives, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of many. We are profoundly thankful for the enduring musical legacy he has bestowed upon us all."
Twilley was born and raised in Tulsa, Okla., and began writing songs with fellow singer-songwriter Phil Seymour in 1967. After the pair was turned away at Memphis' Sun Records during a visit to get a record deal, they went to Los Angeles, where they signed with Shelter Records, which was co-owned by Tulsa music legend Leon Russell.
Listen to Dwight Twilley Band's 'I'm on Fire'
Dwight Twilley's Career
The Dwight Twilley Band, as they became known, worked in Tulsa often at Russell's Church Studio, rubbing shoulders with people like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. (Over the years, many other high-profile acts were also recorded there, including Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, J.J. Cale and Bonnie Raitt.)
The band's debut single, "I'm on Fire," went to No. 16 on the Billboard chart in 1975. After Shelter Records folded, Seymour left the group and Twilley continued as a solo artist. He landed another hit in 1984, "Girls" – which included a vocal assist by Petty – and released several solo albums until his death.
"I was just a damn genius when I was young, and I just got stupider and stupider each year afterwards," Twilley told Americana UK earlier this year. "It was an adventure, you know, a kind of amazing adventure. You are a kid, and all the other musicians in the world are trying to make a record, a little disc with their name on it and their picture on the sleeve and things like that, and trying to get on the radio, and we were able to accomplish that."
Twilley also noted that he was at work on more new music. "We are still recording, and we are on the edge of starting another album very soon, and it will just be another one. We'll spit it out and see how it hits the floor," he said. "I can't complain about my life and the way my life has gone. It has been pretty enjoyable."
Listen to Dwight Twilley's 'Girls'
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Gallery Credit: UCR Staff
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