Avant-garde musician Bruce Hampton dies after collapsing on stage

The 'Colonel' was performing at a special concert in Atlanta that was being held in celebration of his birthday when he fell ill

The avant-garde musician Bruce Hampton has died, aged 70.

Hampton was performing at a special tribute concert in Atlanta on Monday (May 1) that was being held in honour of his 70th brithday – which fell on Sunday (April 30) – when he fell ill. During a performance of ‘Turn On Your Lovelight’, Hampton collapsed on stage and was rushed to a nearby hospital, but later died.

Known as the ‘Godfather of the jam band scene’, Hampton was a founding member of the Hampton Grease Band, who rose to prominence in the late 1960s. The band adopted a surrealist take on performing, and quickly became courted by the likes of the Grateful Dead and the Allman Brothers.


After releasing one album (1971’s ‘Music To Eat’), Hampton left the Grease Band to embark on a solo career – kicking off with ‘One Ruined Life of a Bronze Tourist’, which was released under the name Col. Bruce Hampton in 1978. Hampton also formed the band Aquarium Rescue Unit in the early 1990s, as well as starting the bands Fiji Mariners and Codetalkers in later years. He last released an album in 2014 with ‘Pharaoh’s Kitchen’.

Speaking to the press after news of Hampton’s death broke, photographer Michael Weintrob described Hampton’s final performance as “an incredible show” and “the greatest encore to go out on.”

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