Bobby Jameson

Robert Parker Jameson (April 20, 1945 – May 12, 2015) was an American singer-songwriter who was briefly promoted as a major star in the early 1960s and later attracted a cult following with his 1965 album Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest, issued under the name Chris Lucey. The album’s dark lyrics and sophisticated arrangements led its advocates to note similarities with Love’s 1967 album Forever Changes. For decades, little was known about Jameson or his origins, and he was more famous for engaging in public disturbances and suicide attempts than his music.

Starting his career in 1963, Jameson was hyped as the next major pop event in an elaborate promotional campaign that ran in the magazines Billboard and Cashbox. For the next five years, he released 11 singles across eight different American and British record labels. At one point, he was the opening live act for the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and Chubby Checker, and also declined an offer to join the Monkees. From the mid 1960s to early 1970s, Jameson was active in Los Angeles underground music circles, working with musicians such as Frank Zappa and members of Crazy Horse. During this period, he participated in the Sunset Strip riots, appeared as a subject in the 1967 documentary Mondo Hollywood, and garnered a reputation as someone who had ruined his chances at success. After Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest, he released only two more albums: Color Him In (1967), a collaboration with Curt Boettcher, and Working (1969), an album of cover songs.

Jameson’s life was affected by personal misfortune, followed by alcoholism and criminal activity. He grew increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the music industry, alleging that his managers and employers failed to ensure him financial compensation and royalties, and that some companies had illegally claimed the intellectual property rights to his songs. For much of the 1970s he was institutionalized or homeless, but eventually achieved sobriety. After 1985, he left the music business completely, and was rumored to be dead for many years. In 2002, Songs of Protest and Anti-Protest was reissued without Jameson’s knowledge, and in response, he resurfaced in 2007 with a series of autobiographical blog posts and YouTube videos, which he maintained until his death in 2015. (More)

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