Pearls Before Swine’s Tom Rapp, RIP
Tom Rapp, leader of the highly influential 1960s and 1970s psychedelic folk band Pearls Before Swine, has passed away in his Florida home. He was 70. A rep for Drag City, who reissued Pearls Before Swine’s classic 1967 debut One Nation Underground last year for its 50th anniversary, confirmed Rapp’s death to Rolling Stone.
Here’s more from the Rolling Stone article:
…Rapp shared stages with psych rock and folk luminaries like Pink Floyd, Phil Ochs and Dave van Ronk. While Rapp’s group never garnered the same mainstream success as those bands, it was extremely influential. Most notably, Pearls Before Swine’s 1970 song “Rocket Man” inspired Elton John and Bernie Taupin massive 1972 hit of the same name.
Pearls Before Swine released their last album, Beautiful Lies You Could Live In, in 1971, after which Rapp embarked on a short solo career, releasing three albums in two years: 1972’s Familiar Songs and Stardancer and 1973’s Sunforest. Rapp then stepped away from music, returning to college, earning a law degree and carving out a lengthy career as a civil rights lawyer.
Pearls Before Swine also inspired 4AD goth collective This Mortal Coil, who notably covered their song, “The Jeweller.”
Rest in peace, Tom. You’ll be missed, and your contributions to music will live on.
Listen to One Nation Underground below:
Subscribe to Brooklyn Vegan on