I can remember clearly hearing Delaney Bramlett singing with his wife, Bonnie, and Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and others in Delaney and Bonnie and Friends for the first time. I can’t remember exactly when it was; I think it was 1971 or 1972. But I was spellbound by their song, “Never Ending Song of Love,” so I bought the album. I loved both their voices, but the song that made it into my eternal top ten was Delaney’s version of “Faded Love.”

Delaney encouraged Eric Clapton to sing rather than just play guitar. He taught George Harrison how to play slide guitar. He wrote the classic song, Superstar, which became a huge hit for the Carpenters.

He was a great, great musician, and he died December 30, 2008.

I did not know that he died until I saw it on the Grammy Awards, the same way I found out about Larry Norman. I’ve really been a bit surprised by how very much I’m grieving for them both, since I’ve not heard their music much in the past 20 years.

But Delaney, like Larry, was just intertwined with a huge piece of my past. The world, I think, was better with them in it.

So this is my goodbye and my tribute to Delaney Bramlett, a great man.

I couldn’t find the video of “Faded Love,” but I found another great video: