Keith Allison, '60s Rock Collaborator, Dead at 79

Keith Allison
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Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Keith Allison, a singer, songwriter and guitarist whose lengthy resume included sessions with The Monkees, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Sonny & Cher and more, died in his home in Sherman Oaks, CA on Wednesday, Nov. 17. He was 79 years old.

Allison's Facebook page reported the news a day later. No cause of death was given. "Keith Allison was a multi-talented songwriter, musician, singer and actor with a long list of credits," the post read. "Keith knew everyone, and everyone loved Keith."

Born in Coleman, Texas, Sydney Keith Allison had music running through his family: his cousin, Jerry Allen, was the original drummer of The Crickets, fronted by '50s rock icon Buddy Holly. Keith's success started by chance: he was discovered in the audience of the Dick Clark-created variety series Where the Action Is and hired as a presenter, where fans noted his resemblance to Paul McCartney.

During his tenure on the show, he released an album for Columbia Records and collaborated with The Monkees in the studio; he was a session player on tracks heard on The Monkees; Headquarters; The Birds, The Bees and The Monkees (which features "Auntie's Municipal Court," a song he co-wrote with Michael Nesmith) and Head. During this time, Allison's session work also included lead guitar and harmonica on Sonny & Cher's Top 10 hit "The Beat Goes On."

READ MORE: A Barrel Full of Mickys: 10 Classic Monkees Tracks Sung by Micky Dolenz

From 1968 to 1975, Allison was a member of Paul Revere & The Raiders, performing on the '60s band's unlikely 1970 chart-topper "Indian Reservation (The Lament of the Cherokee Reservation Indian)." Several years later, Allison also played in Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart, a post-Monkees supergroup featuring Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones alongside the songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.

In recent years, Allison tried his hand at acting, appearing on series like The Wonder Years and 7th Heaven as well as a supporting role in the Civil War film Gods and Generals.

He is survived by Tina Stern, his wife of 40 years; three children (a son and two daughters); two sisters and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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