George Frayne, ‘Commander Cody,’ Country-Rock Pioneer Dead at 77

by Keeli Parkey
george-frayne-commander-cody-country-rock-pioneer-dead-77

The country music community lost an influential member on Sunday, Sept. 26. That artist was George Frayne, who was better known as Commander Cody. He was a pioneer of the country-rock scene and the creator of the group, Commander Cody and His Planet Lost Airmen.

According to Taste of Country, Frayne was 77 years old at the time of his death. His cause of death was cancer. His wife shared the news of his death on Facebook.

Early this morning, as I lay my head upon his shoulder, George’s soul took to flight. I am heartbroken and weary, and I know your hearts break, too. Thank you so much for all the love you gave and the stories you shared,” she shared. Frayne’s wife also said that memorials for her late husband will be held in the future on both coasts of the United States.

George Frayne was born in Boise, Idaho, in 1944. It was in 1967 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that he established the group Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen. His stage name, Commander Cody, was inspired by a character from 1950s science fiction. A 1951 movie was the inspiration for the name of his band.

Like so many other bands through the years, George Frayne and his group sang in bars close to them. They later moved on to Berkeley, California. This move proved to be important to their future. It was while they were in Berkeley that they signed with Paramount Records. Their first album, Lost in the Ozone, came out in 1971. The album gave them a Top 40 song. It was their cover of the track, “Hot Rod Lincoln.”

Other albums released by George Frayne and his group also included “Hot Licks, Cold Steel & Truckers Favorites” in 1972, “Country Casanova” in 1973, and a self-titled album in 1975. Their 1975 album made its way into the Billboard 100.

Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen came to an end in 1976. Before that, they opened for such famous artists as the Beach Boys, the Grateful Dead, and Alice Cooper.

After the group went their separate ways, Frayne continued to perform as a solo singer. He also turned his focus to his work as a painter and sculptor.

George Frayne Isn’t the Only Country Music Artist We’ve Lost During 2021

George Frayne isn’t the only country music artist the community has lost during 2021. There have been many others.

Two of these artists were relatives of country music legend Dolly Parton. One of these artists was her brother, Randy Parton. Cancer also claimed his life at the age of 67. His last song was one he shared with his famous sister. Titled, “You Are My Christmas,” the song was part of Dolly Parton’s 2020 Christmas album.

The other close family member Dolly Parton lost this year was her uncle, Bill Owens. He was 85 years old at the time of his death. He helped his niece during the early days of her career. She announced his death in April 2021.

Other country artists who have passed away in 2021 are Jamie O’Hara, Ed Bruce, Larry Willoughby, Jason “Rowdy” Cope, Jimmie Rodgers, Jim Weatherly, Richie Albright, Scott Whitehead, Taylor Dee, JT Gray, Charlie Black, Patsy Bruce, Dewayne Blackwell, B.J. Thomas, and Don Maddox.

More From Outsider

Outsider.com