February 18, 2018 / 4:58 PM

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Pearls Before Swine Frontman Tom Rapp Dies At 70

 

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The founder of Pearls Before Swine, Tom Rapp, died on Feb. 11. Rapp released six albums together with his bandmates before they went on their separate ways in 1971.  ( Christo Drummkopf | Flickr )

On Feb. 11, Tom Rapp, the founder and lead singer of Pearls Before Swine, died at the age of 70 at his home in Melbourne, Florida.

The singer's son, David Rapp, confirmed that his dad died of cancer. Tom formed Pearls Before Swine in 1965 with his high school classmates in his hometown. Two years later, the psychedelic folk band dropped their debut record One Nation Underground. Drag City, an American independent record label based in Chicago, Illinois, reissued the album last year.

Pearls Before Swine released six albums together, but shortly after they released their second album Balaklava, the original lineup disbanded. Tom said that the album took so long to record because he and his bandmates wanted to try out different things.

Tom continued to release music under Pearls Before Swine with the help of his wife, Elizabeth. Pearls Before Swine's final album, Beautiful Lies You Could Live In, was released in 1971.

Tom also embarked on his solo career in 1972, and he released three albums, namely, Familiar Songs, Stardancer, and Sunforest. Tom stepped away from the music industry in 1973. He returned years later with his final solo album A Journal of the Plague Year in 1999. In the same year, he covered "After the Gold Rush." Beyond his career in music, Tom also worked as a civil rights lawyer.

Tom Rapp Talks About His Songs

One of the Pearls Before Swine's most popular songs is "Another Time." Last year, Tom shared what inspired him to write the single. He said that he had some a wakeup call after he got involved in a car accident.

"And police came and I was listening to the police report that they were taking us to the station and people were dying all over the place in car accidents and fires and drownings. And I said, 'Oh man, the universe does not care at all," said Tom.

Tom also talked about "Playmate" and said that the song is all about little girls playing with their dolls. "(Oh Dear) Miss Morse" was written after Rapp expressed his desire to have a song with Morse code in it.

"DJs got in trouble because only boy scouts knew Morse code and the scoutmasters complained," said Tom.

The singer also revealed that he wrote "Morning Song" by himself after he read Jerzy Kosiński work. "I Shall Not Care," on the other hand, was written on the plane on his way to New York City.

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