March 12, 2005

The southern rock family was dealt a huge blow on March 10 with the passing of original MOLLY HATCHET singer Danny Joe Brown. He had only just been released from hospital, after treatment for pneumonia and other ailments, but died upon his return home. He was 53 years old.

Although earlier, established acts initially disputed the fact that MOLLY HATCHET was a southern rock band, it's fair to say that the Jacksonville, Florida group was the first to take the spirit of the genre and kick its butt with an infusion of classic heavy metal. The formula worked and the band's presence soon rose to that of international platinum status. European fans in particular appreciated the band’s heavy use of guitar riffing and distinctive Frank Frazetta album covers.

Named after a 17th century axe murderess, Abigail "Hatchet Molly" from Salem, MOLLY HATCHET's self-titled Tom Werman-produced debut album was released in September 1978. It had been intended for MOLLY HATCHET's debut to be produced by LYNYRD SKYNYRD frontman Ronnie Van Zant, but his untimely death in a 1977 plane crash put paid to these plans. The record would eventually earn platinum status for one million U.S. sales, as did the follow-up Top-20 album, "Flirting With Disaster", released a year later.

Brown was forced out of the band due to diabetes, but made his comeback on 1983's "No Guts...No Glory" and 1984's "The Deed Is Done". MOLLY HATCHET briefly disbanded after Epic issued the storming "Double Trouble Live" set in 1986, due to Brown's diabetes disabling him once again. MOLLY HATCHET reformed with Brown in 1988 and recorded the "Lightning Strikes Twice" set for new label Capitol. However, in later years Phil McCormack took over the vocal reigns as Brown's illness advanced.

MOLLY HATCHET's latest release was a 2004 set of re-recorded 25th anniversary tracks. The band is still constantly on the road in the U.S. and Europe.

Visitation is 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at Panciera Memorial Home, 4200 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood. Services are 11:30 p.m. Tuesday at Cooper City Church of God, 9191 Stirling Rd., Cooper City, with burial at Lauderdale Memorial Park in Fort Lauderdale.

Full MOLLY HATCHET history, discography and gig guide can be found at Rockdetector.com.

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