Jesse Winchester Dies: Revered Songwriter Succumbs to Cancer at 69

Image: Jesse Winchester Dies: Revered Songwriter Succumbs to Cancer at 69

Friday, 11 Apr 2014 04:31 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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Singer-songwriter Jesse Winchester died Friday at age 69, leaving behind a name that isn’t well-known by those outside the music industry but a body of work that is.

Joan Baez has called him "one of the best songwriters on earth," and Bob Dylan said about him, "You can’t talk about the best songwriters and not include him."

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The author of numerous songs, Winchester could also sing, and his performance of “Sham-A-Ling-Dong-Ding” would bring people to tears, including Canadian singer-songwriter Neko Case in this clip. Norman Brannon, of the emo group Texas Is the Reason, tweeted about Winchester and the song:

Winchester died after a long fight against cancer of the esophagus, which when announced in 2011 rallied many of the world’s top singers and songwriters around him.

In his honor, the album “Quiet About It: A Tribute to Jesse Winchester” was released by Jimmy Buffett’s Mailboat Records and featured artists like James Taylor, Vince Gill, Elvis Costello, and Buffett.

When Winchester announced the album's release on his website, he wrote: “When I was sick last year, fixing to die, some friends decided to make a CD of various artists performing my songs. Jimmy Buffett wrote me around Christmastime with the news. I struggled out of my chair and did a little boogaloo around the livingroom. I guess I wasn't that sick."

Winchester’s death was erroneously reported five days ago. Many on twitter came out to confirm the accuracy of today’s report and send their regards to his family.

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