Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"My Name Is Larry,"

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June 18, 2011 |(0) Comments

Wild Man Fischer, a mentally ill street musician whose status as a darling of the pop music industry in the 1960s gave him four decades of celebrity, died Thursday in Los Angeles, The New York Times reports. He was 66.

The cause was heart failure, said Josh Rubin, a filmmaker whose documentary portrait of Fischer, "dErailRoaDed," was released in 2005.

Fischer, whose first name was Larry, had lived with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder since he was a teenager. Since 2004, he had resided in an assisted-living facility for mental patients in Van Nuys, Calif.

Fischer, a singer-songwriter, was sometimes called the grandfather of outsider music. His voice was raspy and very loud. There was little tune to his melodies, his singing was more like shouting or wailing, and his lyrics had the repetitiveness and seeming simplicity of nursery rhymes.

He attracted a cult following, which over time has included well-known figures in the music business. Among them were Frank Zappa, who produced Fischer's first album, "An Evening With Wild Man Fischer," in 1968; radio host Dr. Demento; and singer Rosemary Clooney, with whom Fischer recorded a duet.

Fischer, whose best song is a nonsensical children's song called "Merry-Go-Round," made several albums, toured sporadically and performed occasionally on television. In the 1970s, he wound up helping launch the novelty label Rhino Records, based in a Los Angeles record shop of the same name, recording three albums on the label.

Fischer's other songs include "My Name Is Larry," "I'm Selling Peanuts for the Dodgers," "I Wish I Was a Comic Book" and, with Clooney, "It's a Hard Business."

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