Michael David Fuller (December 18, 1949 - February 1, 1989), better known under the stage name Blaze Foley, was an American singer-songwriter.
Foley was born Michael David Fuller in Malvern, Arkansas, but grew up in Texas. He performed in a gospel band called The Fuller Family with his mother and sisters. After leaving home, he performed in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, and finally Austin, Texas. He was close friends with Townes Van Zandt.
His song "If I Could Only Fly" became a hit in the interpretation of Merle Haggard. His song "Election Day" was covered by Lyle Lovett on his 2003 album "My Baby Don't Tolerate" and his song "Clay Pigeons" was covered by John Prine on his Grammy Award winning 2005 album "Fair and Square." Joe Nichols pays tribute to "If I Could Only Fly" by recording it for his album "Real Things" released in 2007.
In 1989, Foley was shot in the chest and killed by Carey January, the son of Foley's friend Concho January. Carey January was acquitted of murder in the first degree by reason of self-defense. He and his father presented completely different versions of the shooting at trial.
Foley jokingly claimed to be the illegitimate son of Red Foley and Blaze Starr.
Foley placed duct tape on the tips of his cowboy boots to mock the "Urban Cowboy" crazed folks with their silver tipped cowboy boots. He later made a suit out of duct tape that he used to walk around in. At his funeral, his casket was coated with duct tape by his friends. Townes Van Zandt was quoted as saying that he'd "have to dig Foley up to get the pawn ticket for his guitar that was in his pocket".
Music and lyrics:
The master tapes from his first studio album were confiscated by the DEA when the executive producer was caught in a drug bust. Another studio album disappeared when the master copies were in a station wagon, which Foley had been given and lived in, was broken into and his belongings stolen. A third studio album, "Wanted More Dead Than Alive," had almost disappeared until, many years after Blaze died, a friend who was cleaning out his car discovered what sounded like the Bee Creek recording sessions on which he and other musicians had performed. This album was Foley's last studio project and he was scheduled to tour the UK with Townes Van Zandt in support of the album. When Foley died, his attorney immediately nullified the recording contract and the master tapes subsequently went missing (and reportedly were lost in a flood).
Foley worked among others with Gurf Morlix, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Schwartz, Billy Block, and Calvin Russell.
Townes Van Zandt wrote the song "Blaze's Blues" about his friend and recorded it a few times, notably on his 2-disc "Live at Union Chapel, London, England" album. Townes reportedly composed "Marie," a song about a homeless couple, on Blaze's guitar after Blaze had died.
The song "Drunken Angel" by Lucinda Williams, which appears on her 1998 album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, is a tribute to Foley.
Gurf Morlix released a song on his 2009 album, Last Exit to Happyland entitled "Music You Mighta Made" about his longtime friend, Foley. On February 1, 2011, Morlix released Blaze Foley's 113th Wet Dream, a 15-song collection of Foley's songs.
Three songs, posthumously co-written by Jon Hogan at the request of the Foley estate, were released in 2010 on the album "Every Now and Then: Songs of Townes Van Zandt & Blaze Foley." They include "Every Now and Then," "Safe in the Arms of Love," and "Can't Always Cry."
Foley's music is featured prominently in a feature-length documentary film about him entitled "Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah," released in 2011 by filmmaker Kevin Triplett.
"He's only gone crazy once. Decided to stay." - Townes Van Zandt,
"Blaze Foley was a genius and a beautiful loser." - Lucinda Williams