(June 25, 2012) Writing this post with a heavy pen. While I've spent my adult life as an avid fan of soul music, a big part of my music collection includes everything from jazz to pop to gospel to hard rock. Today I learned of the passing of Larry Hoppen, a founding member of the pop/rock group Orleans and one of the truly memorable voices of the 70s and early 80s. You'd recognize Larry's unmistakeable tenor on their big hits "Dance With Me," "Forever" and, of course, "Still the One."
While Orleans stopped topping the charts around 30 years ago, I continued to follow them as they moved into the country realm in the 80s and then when they came back to their folk rock roots 15 years ago with the terrific album, Ride. I even checked out their self-released disc of a couple years ago that included a nice remake of "Dancin' In the Moonlight." Throughout it all, Larry's Hoppen's bright voice was the constant. Over the years I had also read of Larry's dedication to various important social missions, from feeding the poor to helping children with HIV.
Ironically, the last time I had listened to Orleans on my iPod was while driving down a Michigan highway earlier this week. You can bet I'll be listening to a lot of Larry Hoppen over the next couple weeks and will be thinking about a great performer who, without fanfare, brought joy to millions of music fans over four decades.
By Chris Rizik
Here's the press release that was issued by the group Orleans on Larry's sudden passing:
Larry Hoppen, one of the founding members of the band Orleans, passed away on July 24th, 2012. Born on Long Island, New York, Hoppen was 61 years old.
Between 1969 and 1971, his Ithaca, NY- based band, Boffalongo, made two LPs for United Artists. The second included the original recording of "Dancin' in the Moonlight", later a hit by friends King Harvest. Soon after Boffalongo disbanded in late 1971, Larry got a call from (former US Congressman, D-NY, 19) John Hall, inviting him to come to Woodstock, NY to join with the late Wells Kelly and John to form Orleanswhich he did in early 1972. Larry's younger brother, Lance, joined the band the following fall. Tens of millions know Larry's uplifting tenor from the Orleans hits "Still the One", "Dance With Me" and "Love Takes Time".
Larry also performed and/or recorded with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, Livingston Taylor, Lulu, Graham Parker, Blues Traveler, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, Michael Franks, Levon Helm, the late great Michael Brecker, the late great Chet Atkins, the late great Artie Traum, John Sebastian, Bela Fleck, Felix Cavaliere, Edgar Winter, Robbie Dupree, Spencer Davis, Rick Derringer, Mark Farner, John Ford Coley, Jimi Jamison, John Cafferty and many more notable artists.
Larry released 2 solo albums: "HandMade" and "Looking for the Light", the latter being a flagship fundraising vehicle for his 501(c)3 nonprofit Sunshine for HIV Kids.
Larry was still touring with Orleans, including brother Lance and youngest brother Lane, and was scheduled to appear on Fox TV's nationwide "Fox & Friends' All-American Concert Series" show this coming Friday, July 27th.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Smith Hoppen and his daughters, Claire and Maeve, as well as his bothers, Lance and Lane and his sister, Lynda.
The Family asks that since Larry passion was feeding hungry people, his friends and fans can honor his memory by making a contribution to their local food bank in his name.
Patricia Smith Hoppen and her daughters ask the media to please respect their privacy at this difficult time and all inquires should be directed to George T. Gilbert, Esq. (212-677-2001 ) (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Lance Hoppen (email@example.com) (615-292-4500).