HomeEntertainmentMusicThe Marshall Tucker Band’s Namesake Passes Away at 99

The Marshall Tucker Band’s Namesake Passes Away at 99

by Craig Garrett
The Marshall Tucker Band
(Photo by Debra L Rothenberg/Getty Images)

On January 20th, the man who gave the Marshall Tucker Band their name passed away at age 99. The band announced the news via Instagram. The group posted an image of Tucker keying a piano alongside a heartfelt message.

“We are saddened to hear of the passing of someone very special to our hearts, for very obvious reasons,” they captioned the post. “Our band’s namesake, Mr. Marshall Tucker, passed away peacefully yesterday morning at the age of 99. Though he was never a member of our band, we wouldn’t be here today without his historic name.”

The origin of how The Marshall Tucker Band got their name

The group then goes on to explain the origins of how they came to name themselves after Tucker. “In the early days when we were rehearsing in an old warehouse in Spartanburg, we found a keychain inscribed with his name. We needed a name ASAP… and the rest is history! Marshall was blind since birth but amazingly could play the heck out of the piano. We are thankful for Mr. Marshall Tucker and the life he lived! Sending blessings to his wife and family.”

For nearly half a century, Marshall Tucker was depended upon to tune pianos in South Carolina, according to Saving Country. He became renowned across the globe for his piano tuning skills. He worked with some of America’s most notable pianists such as Lawrence Welk and Liberace. Yet, it was his association with Southern Rock that sealed his reputation in music forever.

Despite being born blind, Marshall Tucker had a remarkable ability – perfect pitch. While attending a boarding school for the blind and deaf, it was discovered that he could accurately identify any note played to him. Soon after, an expert piano tuner came to teach the students how to tune pianos. He recognized young Tucker’s extraordinary talent. With his guidance, Marshall went on to learn professional tuning skills and eventually make a living from it.

The Marshall Tucker Band always kept in touch with their namesake

How did a rock band from Spartanburg, South Carolina come to be named after him? In 1972, the original members of The Marshall Tucker Band rented out an abandoned warehouse space. This was their practice venue before they had even decided on their official name.

One of the band members spotted the warehouse key, which had “Marshall Tucker” inscribed on it: a reminder that Marshall Tucker had previously rented this space for his piano tuning enterprise. Subsequently, everyone unanimously voted to christen their group The Marshall Tucker Band at once.

Initially, the Marshall Tucker Band were unaware that their name was inspired by someone in particular. It wasn’t until one of his friends noticed a poster for them performing music locally and pointed it out to him that Marshall Tucker realized he’d been named after this musical group. Since then, both have made an effort to bond over their mutual namesake and Mr. Tucker has become somewhat of a mascot for the band ever since.

In the same year, he lent his name to the Marshall Tucker Band, Marshall Tucker tied the knot with Lois, who was born also without sight. As the decades passed, The Marshall Tucker Band experienced many changes in its members, yet always stayed in touch with Marshall Tucker.