Marshall Tucker, Namesake of Iconic Southern Rock Band, Has Died

Marshall Tucker never played a lick of music in the Marshall Tucker Band. In fact, he wasn’t known for performing at all. He was in the music business though. For almost 50 years, Marshall Tucker was one of South Carolina’s most trusted piano tuners. He tuned pianos for some of the most famous piano players ever, including Lawrence Welk and Liberace. But through a twist of fate, his name became known worldwide, and synonymous with Southern Rock.

Born blind but with perfect pitch, Marshall Tucker learned how to tune pianos when attending a boarding school for the blind and deaf. When a piano tuner came to the school, he discovered young Marshall Tucker could name off any note he heard, and tell if it was on pitch or not. This led to Marshall Tucker being trained to tune pianos for a living.

So how did a Southern rock band from Spartanburg name itself after him?

In 1972, original Marshall Tucker band members Toy Caldwell, Tommy Caldwell, Gray, Jerry Eubanks, George McCorkle and Paul Riddle rented an old warehouse as a rehearsal space. This was in the band’s nascent stages before they had an official name. One of the band members noticed that the key to the warehouse had the name “Marshall Tucker” inscribed on it, since Marshall Tucker had rented the space previously for his piano tuning business. Thinking that the name was cool and catchy, the band decided to name themselves The Marshall Tucker Band right then and there.

At the time, The Marshall Tucker Band didn’t even know the name referred to an actual person. Marshall Tucker didn’t figure out he was named after a band either until one of his friends remarked to him that they saw he would be playing music in town. Both the band and the man eventually put two and two together, and Marshall Tucker has been sort of a Marshall Tucker Band mascot ever since.

The same year Marshall Tucker became the namesake of the Marshall Tucker Band, he also married his sweetheart Lois who was born legally blind as well. The members of The Marshall Tucker Band have changed quite a bit over the years, but as a collective, they always kept up with Marshall Tucker through the years. The band is who informed the public that Marshall Tucker died on Friday, January 20th at the age of 99.

“Though he was never a member of our band, we wouldn’t be here today without his historic name,” the band said in a statement. “Marshall was blind since birth but amazingly could play the heck out of the piano. He always said his talent was simply God-given. He tuned pianos in South Carolina for decades. We are thankful for Mr. Marshall Tucker and the life he lived! Sending blessings to his wife and family.”

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