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Howard Wyeth ( 1944 - 1996 )  Category ( Musicians ) [suggest a correction]
 

Howie WyethHowie Wyeth, born Howard Pyle Wyeth, is the product of an interesting and complicated family lineage. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey on 22 April 1944, Howie was the son of inventor Nathaniel Convers Wyeth and his wife, Caroline Pyle. Nathaniel was the son of famed artist and illustrator N.C. Wyeth, and Caroline was the niece of N.C. Wyeth's tutor, Howard Pyle. Pyle, to simplify the family tangle, was Howie's great-uncle.

Additionally, Howie was the nephew of famous painter Andrew Wyeth and his sister, Henriette Wyeth Hurd. Howie had four brothers, and only one sister who died very young. A fifth brother, Newell, died along with his grandfather, N.C. Wyeth when Wyeth's car stalled on a railroad crossing and they were struck by a train in 1945.

Despite all this fine art talent in the family, Howie became a musician. His skills as a drummer and pianist are noted, especially his stint as a drummer for Bob Dylan.

Howie was surrounded by music lovers, however, as the Wyeth family was fond of music and literature. Howie's father, the inventor, enjoyed playing ragtime piano. Howie learned how to play drums by age four, and he later attended Wilmington Friends school where his music teacher helped him on his way to becoming a professional musician. Fats Waller was Wyeth's greatest influence, and he studied percussion with Alan Able of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Howie later recieved a bachelor's degree in music at Syracuse University in 1966.

Wyeth first played with bands the Dogs and the Worms in New York City, and in 1972 he played on a solo album by John Herald and Rob Stoner. Stoner later brought Wyeth to drum on Dylan's album, Desire, in July 1975. This album made the Billboard #1 as a pop album, the last Dylan effort to reach that mark for thirty years.

Howie then joined Dylan in the Rolling Thunder Review in New York in 1975. The revue toured the U.S. for a year, and two of those shows are recorded on the live album, Hard Rain. Howie continued to play on albums for Don McLean, Leslie West and others. He later led his own groups on piano with ragtime blues and early jazz.

Wyeth died from cardiac arrest at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan on 27 March 1996. He was 51. After Wyeth's death, Chris Harford released a piano instrumental, "Ode to Howie Wyeth."


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