*RIP Joe Osborn


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just saw a post on Facebook stating that Joe Osborn has passed. Has anyone heard this or have more info??



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I hate to hear Joe Osborn passed. He was a wonderful person and a gifted musician. RIP #wreckingcrew

This was posted in Newville Ave. page on FB


Ah am so steel een luv weeth yoo
Sleep well, Joe... :sad: This is from the Wrecking Crew's Facebook page...

I'm sorry to tell you that we’ve lost another friend yesterday. Joe Osborn has passed. When I started this documentary, it was very difficult to get to all the players around the country. But there was no way I was not going to make the trip out to meet Joe. I flew to Shreveport where he was playing with Johnny Rivers and James Burton. He made sure he found time for me to do that interview which was so important to the history of the Wrecking Crew. Over the years, he was always there when we needed him for a concert or screening. Even though he was a quiet man, I could see the sparkle in his eyes when he saw the love of his fans. I called him a gentle bear. He made his impact in Rock and Roll and Country. First called session bass player in two cities; Los Angeles and Nashville. My favorite line from Joe. He was asked why he kept the same strings on his bass for 17 years. His answer, "No one told me I was supposed to change them". He will truly be missed but not forgotten.

Joe Osborn began his career working in local clubs, then played on a hit record by singer Dale Hawkins.[2] He moved to Las Vegas at age 20, and spent a year playing backup for country singer Bob Luman. With legendary guitar player Roy Buchanan among his bandmates, Osborn switched from guitar to electric bass. In 1960, with Allen "Puddler" Harris, a native of Franklin Parish, also in northeastern Louisiana, and James Burton, originally from Webster Parish, he joined pop star Ricky Nelson's backup band, where he spent four years. His playing on such Nelson hits as "Travellin' Man" began attracting wider notice, and he found opportunities to branch out into studio work with artists such as Johnny Rivers.

Studio bassist in Los Angeles
When the Nelson band dissolved in 1964, Osborn turned to studio work in Los Angeles full-time. For the next ten years, he was considered a "first-call" bassist among Los Angeles studio musicians[3] (known as The Wrecking Crew), and he worked with well-known producers such as Lou Adler and Bones Howe, frequently in combination with drummer Hal Blaine and keyboardist Larry Knechtel—the combination of Blaine, Osborn and Knechtel have been referred to as the Hollywood Golden Trio.[4] His bass can be heard on many of the hit records cut in Los Angeles during that time, along with numerous film scores and television commercials.
His playing can be heard on records by such well-known groups as The Mamas & the Papas, The Association, The Grass Roots
and The 5th Dimension. Osborn can be heard on Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge over Troubled Water" and the 5th Dimension's version of "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In".

A song featuring prominently mixed bass in melodic counterpoint to acoustic guitars is the 1972 hit single "Ventura Highway" by the group America. He also played on several Johnny Rivers records.
Osborn played on many of Neil Diamond's major hits in the late 1960s and early to middle 1970s, including the hauntingly unique bass lines on "Holly Holy" in 1969. Osborn is also known for his discovery and encouragement of the popular brother-and-sister duo, the Carpenters, on whose albums he played bass throughout their career.
Work in Nashville
In 1974, Osborn left Los Angeles and moved to the country and western capital, Nashville. He continued an active studio career, playing behind such vocalists as Kenny Rogers, Mel Tillis, and Hank Williams, Jr. One count listed Osborn as bassist on fifty-three number one hits on the country charts.


Chris May

Resident ‘Carpenterologist’
Staff member
Joe was one of the very best, yet humblest musicians I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. In his later years he played bass in his local church worship band as well.

The man will go down in history as one of the greatest session bassists that ever lived, and the best piece of advice he ever gave me was very simple: “If you just listen, the song will tell you exactly what notes to play.”

Bless you my friend...


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I have so many LP's and CD's in my collection where Joe has contributed his unique style and instantly recognizable bass playing. My next listen to the RPO album will be with ears on Joe's playing. Thanks Joe for your legacy of music.

A&M Retro

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Very, very sad news. Joe Osborn was a true talent. He most certainly made his mark in the music industry and our collective consciousness forever. RIP.

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

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Joe Osborn played Bass on Olivia Newton-John's album 'Don't Stop Believin' in 1976 recorded in Nashville.
2 of the songs from that album appeared on the pop charts top 40. They are 'Sam' and 'Don't Stop Believin'

Rick-An Ordinary Fool

Well-Known Member
This is an old article from 1998
Joe Osborn

The Osborn Top 40
With a recording career that spanned three decades, one can assume there might be a few hit songs along the way. In Joe Osborn’s case, the number is around 200. This list contains songs that appeared on the pop charts. According to Joe, it’s a little incomplete due to the fact that he can’t remember every session. In his days in Nashville, Osborn played on53 certifiable number one songs on the country charts.

Arranged by year, artist, title and Chart Position
1961, Rick Nelson, Travelin’ Man, 1
1965, Gary Lewis/Playboys, This Diamond Ring, 1
1965, Barry McGre, Eve of Destruction, 1
1966, Mamas and Papas, Monday Monday, 1
1966, Johnny Rivers, Poor Side of Town, 1
1967, Association, Windy, 1
1969, Fifth Dimension, Wedding Bell Blues, 1
1969, Tommy Roe, Dizzy, 1
1970, Carpenters, Close To You, 1
1970, Neil Diamond, Cracklin’ Rose, 1
1970, Partridge Family, I Think I Love You, 1
1970, Simon and Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1
1972, Helen Reddy, I Am Woman, 1
1973, Carpenters, Top of the World, 1
1973, Helen Reddy, Delta Dawn, 1
1974, Carpenters, Please, Mr. Postman, 1
1964, Johnny Rivers, Memphis, 2
1965, Gary Lewis/Playboys, Count Me In, 2
1965, Gary Lewis/Playboys, Save Your Heart For Me, 2
1967, Mamas and Papas, Dedicated To the One I Love, 2
1968, Association, Never My Love, 2
1968, Richard Harris, MacArthur Park, 2
1970, Carpenters, Superstar, 2
1970, Carpenters, We’ve Only Just Begun, 2

1970, Fifth Dimension, One Less Bell to Answer, 2
1971, Carpenters, Rainy Days and Mondays, 2
1972, Carpenters, Hurting Each Other, 2
1973, Carpenters, Yesterday Once More, 2

1976, England Dan & John Ford Coley, I’d Really Love to See You, 2
1966 , Johnny Rivers, Secret Agent Man, 3
1967 , JohnnyRivers, Baby, I Need Your Lovin’, 3
1968 , Fifth Dimension, Stone Soul Picnic, 3
1968 , Monkees, Valleri, 3
1969 , Bobby Sherman, Little Women, 3
1971 , Carpenters, For All We Know, 3
1973 , Carpenters, Sing, 3

1973 , Helen Reddy, Leave Me Alone, 3
1965 , Gary Lewis/Playboys, Everybody Loves a Clown, 4
1966 , Mamas & Papas, California Dreamin’, 4
1967 , Scott Mackenzie, San Francisco, 4
1974 , America, Tin Man, 4
1975 , Carpenters, Only Yesterday, 4
1962 , Rick Nelson, Teenage Idol, 5
1962 , Rick Nelson, YoungWorld, 5
1966 , Mamas & Papas, Words of Love, 5
1967 , Mamas & Papas, CreequeAlley, 5
1968 , Grass Roots, Midnight Confession, 5
1968 , Kenny Rogers &, Just Dropped In, 5
, The First Edition
1970 , Bobby Sherman, Julie, Do You Love Me?, 5
1974, Neil Diamond, Longfellow Serenade, 5
1975, America, Lonely People, 5
1977, KennyRogers, Lucille, 5
1962, Rick Nelson, It’s Up to You, 6
1964, Rick Nelson, ForYou, 6
1966, Mamas & Papas, I Saw Her Again, 6
1966, Tommy Roe, Hurray for Hazel, 6
1969, Kenny Rogers &, Ruby, 6
, The First Edition
1969 , Neil Diamond, Holly Holy, 6
1970 , Barbra Streisand, Stoney End, 6
1972 , Johnny Rivers, Rockin’ Pneumonia, 6
1971 , Partridge Family, Doesn’t Somebody, 6
, , Want to Be Wanted?
1965 , Johnny Rivers, Seventh Son, 7
1967 , Fifth Dimension, Up, Up, and Away, 7
1969 , Simon & Garfunkel, The Boxer, 7
1971 , Tommy Roe, Stagger Lee, 7
1972 , Carpenters, Goodbye to Love, 7
1966 , Gary Lewis/Playboys, Green Grass, 8
1968 , Boyce & Hart, I Wonder What She’s Doin’, 8
1969 , Tommy Roe, Jam Up, Jelly Tight, 8
1972 , America, Ventura Highway, 8
1972 , Fifth Dimension, Didn’t Get to Sleep at All, 8
1975, Helen Reddy, No Way to Treat a Lady, 8
1961, Rick Nelson, Hello, Mary Lou, 9
1964, Johnny Rivers , Mountain of Love, 9
1967, Spanky & Our Gang, Sunday Will Never Be the Same, 9
1969, Bobby Sherman, La La La, 9
1970, Bobby Sherman, Easy Come, Easy Go, 9
1971, Grass Roots, Sooner or Later, 9
1971, Partridge Family, I’ll Meet Ya Halfway, 9
1973, Art Garfunkel, All I Know, 9
1973, B.W. Stevenson, My Maria, 9
1974, Helen Reddy, You and Me Against the World , 9
1975, Austin Roberts, Rocky, 9
1978, England Dan & John Ford Coley , We’ll Never Have to Say Goodbye Again , 9
1982, Sylvia, Nobody, 9
1967, Johnny Rivers, Tracks of My Tears, 10
1968, Association, EverythingThat TouchesYou, 10
1970, Mark Lindsay, Arizona, 10
1972, Fifth Dimension, If I Could ReachYou, 10
1976, England Dan & John Ford Coley, Nights Are Forever, 10
1961, Rick Nelson, A Wonder Like You, 11
1970, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Somethin’s Burnin’, 11
1974, Carpenters, I Won’t Last a Day, 11
1963, Rick Nelson, Fools Rush In, 12
1964, Johnny Rivers, Maybelle, 12
1968, Cass Elliott, Dream a Little Dream, 12
1971, FifthDimension, Never My Love, 12
1972, Carpenters, It’s Going to Take Some Time, 12
1972, Austin Roberts, Something’s Wrong With Me, 12
1973, Helen Reddy, Peaceful, 12
1976, Carpenters, There’s a Kind of Hush, 12
1966, Gary Lewis/Playboys, My Heart Symphony, 13
1968, Fifth Dimension, Sweet Blindness, 13
1971, Helen Reddy, I Don’t Know How to Love Him , 13
1972, Partridge Family, I Woke Up in Love, 13
1967, Johnny Rivers, Summer Rain, 14
1966, Gary Lewis/Playboys, Paint Me a Picture, 15
1969, Grass Roots, I’d Wait a Million Years, 15
1971, Grass Roots, Temptation Eyes, 15
1974, Helen Reddy, Keep On Singing, 15
1961, Rick Nelson, EverLovin’, 16
1967, Fifth Dimension, Go Where You Wanna Go, l 6
1971, Grass Roots, Two Divided By Love, 16
1971, Bobby Sherman, Cry Like a Baby, 16
1981, Carpenters, Touch Me When We’re Dancin’, 16
1968, Spanky & Our Gang, Like to Get to Know You, 17
1970, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Tell It to Brother, 17
1975, Carpenters, Solitaire, 17
1976, Art Garfunkel, I Only Have Eyes For You, 18
1966, Johnny Rivers, Muddy Water, 19
1968, Gary Lewis/Playboys, Sealed With a Kiss, 19
1969, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, But You Know I Love You, 19
1970, Glen Campbell, Honey Come Back, 19
1971, Fifth Dimension, Love Lines, Angels & Rhymes, 19
1976, Helen Reddy, Somewhere in the Night, 19
1982, Michael Murphy, What’s Forever For, 19
1965, Johnny Rivers, Midnight Special, 20
1967, Mamas & Papas, TwelveThirty, 20
1969, Fifth Dimension, Workin’ On a Groovy Thing, 20
1970, Michael Parks, Long Lonesome Highway, 20
1972, Partridge Family, It’s One of Those Nights, 20
1977, Olivia Newton John, Sam, 20
1967, GaryLewis/Playboys , Where Will Words Come From , 21
1970, Fifth Dimension, Blowing Away, 21
1977, EnglandDan &, It’s Sad to Belong, 21
, John Ford Coley
1975, Helen Reddy, Emotion, 22
1967, Grass Roots, Things I Should Have Said, 23
1967, Tommy Roe, It’s Now Winter’s Day, 23
1969, Glen Campbell, Try a Little Kindness, 23
1977, England Dan &, Gone Too Far, 23
, John Ford Coley
1966, Mamas & Papas, Look Through My Window, 24
1967, Scott Mackenzie, Like an Old-Time Movie, 24
1969, Grass Roots, HeavenKnows, 24
1970, Fifth Dimension, Puppet Man, 24
1970, Bobby Sherman, Hey, Mr. Sun!, 24
1963, Rick Nelson, String Along, 25
1969, Fifth Dimension, California Soul, 25
1970, Mark Lindsay, Silver Bird, 25
1976, Carpenters, I Need to Be In Love, 26
1964, Rick Nelson, The Very Thought of You, 26
1965, Johnny Rivers, Where Have All the Flowers Gone, 26
1967, Glen Campbell, By the Time I Get to Phoenix , 26
1967, Mamas & Papas, Glad to Be Unhappy , 26
1969, Glen Campbell, Where’s the Playground, Suzie , 26
1970, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Reuben James, 26

1968, Boyce & Hart, Alice Long, 27
1970, Glen Campbell, All I Have to Do is Dream, 27
1970, Fifth Dimension, Save the Country, 27
1966, Grass Roots, Where Were You When I Needed You, 28
1969, Grass Roots, Bella Linda, 28
1972, Partridge Family, Breaking Up is Hard to Do, 28
1968, Fifth Dimension, Carpet Man, 29
1969, Tommy Roe, Heather Honey, 29
1971, Bobby Sherman, The Drum, 29
1968, Spanky & Our Gang, Sunday Morning, 30
1969, Cass Elliott, It’s Getting Better, 30
1967, Spanky & Our Gang, Make Every Minute Count, 31
1969, Grass Roots, The River Is Wide, 31
1971, Glen Campbell, Dream Baby, 31
1974, Albert Hammond, I’m a Train, 31
1970, John Philips, Mississippi, 32
1973, Fifth Dimension, LivingTogether, 32
1977, Carpenters, Calling Occupants, 32
1966, Johnny Rivers, Under Your Spell Again, 33
1970, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, Heed the Call, 33
1976, Olivia Newton John, Don’t Stop Believin’, 33
1967, Fifth Dimension, Paper Cup, 34
1972, Grass Roots, Glory Bound, 34
1973, Neil Diamond, Be, 34
1974, Art Garfunkel, Second Avenue, 34
1969, Glen Campbell, TrueGrit, 35
1970, Grass Roots, Baby, Hold On!, 35
1973, America, Don’t Cross River, 35
1975, Helen Reddy, Bluebird, 35
1977, Carpenters, All You Can Get From Love, 35
1968, Glen Campbell, I Want to Live, 36
1969, Glen Campbell, Let It Be Me, 36
1969, Cass Elliott, Make Your Own Kind of Music, 36
1972, Fifth Dimension, Together Let’s Find Love, 37
1974, Art Garfunkel, I Shall Sing, 38
1975, Johnny Rivers, Blue Suede Shoes, 38
1967, Boyce & Hart, Out and About, 39
1968, Association, Time For Lovin’, 39
1968, Glen Campbell, Gentle On My Mind, 39
1972, Grass Roots, TheRunaway, 39
1973, Partridge Family, Look Through the Eyes of Love, 39
1966, The Turtles, You, Baby, 40


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It was certainly nice to relisten to the interviews from Chris May. I even sent YouTube links to my musician friends for we all mourn and celebrate the passing of greatness. They are certainly great interviews!
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Mike Blakesley

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Staff member
Probably the most listened-to bassist of all time, yet probably won't make more than page 2 in the small print of the newspapers, if that. That's a sad thing, but at least nowadays the great session players are getting a little more notice, thanks to things like The Wrecking Crew movie and internet sites, books and so on.

I have always thought that bassists didn't get enough credit for what they contribute to a record.


I Know My First Name Is Stephen
Very sad to hear this. He was instrumental in the Carpenters career. I read that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier this year, so it would seem he succumbed pretty quickly.


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Hollywood is reporting the sad news of this great man, he will be remembered forever:
Excerpts from Variety....
Joe Osborn, Wrecking Crew Bassist, Dies at 81
Bassist Joe Osborn died of pancreatic cancer on Dec. 14 at 81.
Osborn was no ordinary studio musician. From the early 1960s to the mid-1970s, Osborn was ubiquitous, playing on tunes as silly as The Monkees theme and as sublime as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
“Joe’s sound is as distinct and unique as Erroll Garner’s, Wes Montgomery’s, or even Ella Fitzgerald’s,”
drummer Hal Blaine – who frequently teamed with Osborn – told Downbeat magazine in 1972.

"But producers featured him because his floating slides, hooks, and counterpoints added the distinctive energy and bounce that distinguished L.A.’s hits. He influenced that fruitful period as much as his bass-playing contemporaries including James Jamerson at Motown, Duck Dunn at Stax, and John Entwistle with The Who."

"Osborn’s influence was especially evident in his work with The Carpenters.
He discovered the brother-and-sister team in 1966 when they showed up at his short-lived Magic Lamp records
label to accompany an auditioning trumpet player. He helped them to shape their distinctive harmonies and played
on all of their hits."

Full Article:


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"He will truly be missed but not forgotten."
Joe Osborne, another fascinating interview here (April 2015),
Carpenters' For All We Know (at 4:31),of Karen's voice (at 5:53):
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