Saturday, January 21, 2012


Terry Dolan, a singer-songwriter whose band, Terry and the Pirates, boasted an all-star lineup in the 1970s and '80s that included Rolling Stones' keyboardist Nicky Hopkins and Quicksilver Messenger Service guitarist John Cipollina, died Jan. 15 at his home in Novato. He was 68.

Friends said Mr. Dolan had been in ill health and died in his sleep.

Born in 1943 and raised in Connecticut, Mr. Dolan arrived in San Francisco in 1965 during the Haight Ashbury hippie migration and began his music career as a guitar-strumming folk singer in North Beach clubs and coffee houses.

"His delivery was really powerful," said Michael Hunt of Woodacre, who often performed with Mr. Dolan in those days. "He could handle the stage all by himself."

In 1973, Mr. Dolan formed Terry and the Pirates with a lineup that was anchored by Cipollina and guitarist Greg Douglass. Over the years, it also featured a host of star rock musicians, including Van Morrison Band bassist David Hayes, Journey guitarist Neil Schon, original Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden, the Pointer Sisters, Peter Rowan and the Tubes' Prairie Prince.

"All these talented musicians, the cream of the crop, came to play with Terry," said Mike Somavilla, his business manager. "It wasn't for monetary gain. They just loved the free-form rock that Terry was putting out there."

In one interview, Mr. Dolan said that he and his wife made a list one night of all the musicians who had been in his band.

"And everyone is successful except me," he added, laughing.

Terry and the Pirates dissolved after Cipollina's death in 1989, but reunited for a time in 1994, releasing one album, 1998's "Still a Pirate."


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