Marshall Tucker Band's Namesake Blind Piano Tuner Dies at 99

The group saw Marshall Tucker's name on a key chain when members were trying to select a band name.

The Marshall Tucker Band is still going strong with the band's lead singer Doug Gray firmly at the helm. However, the band's namesake – a blind piano tuner – recently passed away. The South Carolina man was 99 years old.

"We are saddened to hear of the passing of someone very special to our hearts, for very obvious reasons," the band shared in a statement on Facebook. "Though he was never a member of our band, we wouldn't be here today without his historic name."

The band explained they found a keychain in a warehouse they were rehearsing in in Spartanburg, South Carolina, inscribed with the name Marshall Tucker. They needed a name a soon as possible and borrowed his.

"The rest is history!" they said. "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."

Gray told PEOPLE the keychain story in 2021 and said it happened in February 1972. Gray explained the group was set to open for the Allman Brothers, didn't have a name and saw the keychain hanging from the key to the warehouse. They never looked back.

The Marshall Tucker Band is the southern rock group behind sing-along anthems including "Can't You See," "Fire on the Mountain," and "Heard It in a Love Song." The group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022.

PEOPLE reported Tucker was born in Givhans, South Carolina, and worked for Rice Music House in Spartanburg before leaving to tune pianos.

Tucker sang with the church choir and taught Sunday school. Tucker is survived by Lois, his wife of 50 years, two daughters, three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Latest News