YAKIMA, Washington - The Associated Press
Larry Knechtel, a Grammy award-winning keyboard artist who accompanied leading musicians and combos from Elvis Presley and Ray Charles to Elvis Costello and the Dixie Chicks, is dead at 69.
Knechtel died Thursday at a local hospital of an apparent heart attack. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for Valley Hills Funeral Home.
Knechtel was born in Bell, California, and performed live and in studio recordings with a wide range of artists, including Neil Diamond, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr. and Elvis Costello.
He earned a Grammy award for his arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," played keyboard on the Dixie Chicks' Grammy award-winning album "Taking the Long Way" and performed on the Hammond organ for the group's tour of the same name.
"Larry's resume is a history lesson in great American music all unto itself," the Dixie Chicks wrote on their Web site. "The term 'legendary musician' isn't an overstatement when talking about a multi-instrumentalist who can be heard on some of music's most legendary recordings."
Blues singer and guitar player Wayman Chapman, a friend and frequent performing partner, said Knechtel had seemed to be in good health following a recent trip to Italy with his wife, Vickie, and a grandson.
"He told me in ’03 that he needed to think about retiring, but since then he'd been going like gangbusters," Chapman said.