Bob Shane, Kingston Trio Co-Founder and Folk Pioneer, Dead at 85
Bob Shane, the final living member of the Kingston Trio, died on Sunday (Jan. 26) in hospice care, from complications from pneumonia. The Phoenix, Ariz., resident would’ve turned 86 on Feb. 1.
Born Robert Schoen (pronounced "Shane") on Feb. 1, 1934, in Hilo, Hawaii, Shane was attending Menlo College in the San Francisco Bay area of California in the 1950s when he, childhood friend Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds, a college friend, formed the Kingston Trio. Together, they influenced the shape of folk singing and song interpreting to come while dominating the popular charts.
The group’s album sales alone are mind-blowing: During a five-week stretch in November and December of 1959, four different Kingston Trio albums ranked in the Top 10, a feat that remained unmatched for over 50 years. While winning awards and rewriting chart history, Shane and his bandmates proved folk music as commercially viable, making them the right musicians at the right time to pave the way for country singer-songwriters, Americana acts and other roots-leaning artists to come.
Shane passed away the same day as the 2020 Grammy Awards broadcast. He, Guard and Reynolds won a Country and Western Performance Grammys trophy, for “Tom Dooley,” back in 1959, at the first-ever Grammy Awards ceremony. The following year, their album The Kingston Trio at Large won the inaugural Best Performance -- Folk Grammy. A Lifetime Achievement Award handed out in 2011 and the 1998 induction of "Tom Dooley" into the Grammy Hall of Fame round out Shane’s career Grammy Awards haul.
Guard died of lymphoma in 1991, at the age of 56, and Reynolds passed away in 2008 of acute respiratory disease, at the age of 75. Shane retired in 2004 but continued to perform occasionally until 2016.
Per USA Today, Shane leaves behind five children and eight grandchildren. He was married to Bobbie Childress for 19 years at the time of his death, and had previously been married to Louise Shane.
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