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JOE OSBORN,
1937-2018

Studio musician Joe Osborn, The Wrecking Crew bassist whose work can be heard on Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Neil Diamond’s “Holly Holy,” Johnny Rivers’ “Memphis” and America’s “Ventura Highway,” died Friday in Greenwood, La., at the age of 81. The cause was pancreatic cancer.

A member of Ricky Nelson’s band from 1960 to 1964, Osborn shifted to studio work and promptly became a first call bassist with pianist Larry Knechtel and drummer Hal Blaine in The Wrecking Crew.

Osborn played on numerous sessions for Diamond, The Association, Mamas & Papas and the 5th Dimension; he was instrumental in bringing Richard and Karen Carpenter to A&M and played on all their sessions.

He also backed Neil Young on Comes a Time and Old Ways, Bob Dylan on Self Portrait, The Beach Boys on Sunflower and Paul Simon on his debut solo album.

Osborn left L.A. in 1974 for Nashville where he continued to work in studios, backing the likes of Kenny Rogers and Hank Williams Jr. The Academy of Country Music named him bass player of the year in 1981 and 1983, 1984 and 1985.

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