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Passings: Singer/Songwriter & Guitarist Boomer Castleman (1945 - 2015)

Boomer Castleman, who had a long career behind the scenes in music along with one minor hit single, died on Tuesday from cancer at the age of 70.

Owens Castleman was born in Farmers Branch, TX in 1945 and moved to Los Angeles in his teens where he became a regular at Ledbetters' Folk Club which led to touring with a young John Denver. He also was in a group called The Survivors with a pre-Monkees Michael Nesmith.

In the mid-60's, he had his first success as Boomer Clarke in a duo with Michael Martin Murphy, who was known as Travis Lewis, in the Lewis and Clarke Expedition. They signed with Colgems, the home of the Monkees, where they released four singles, one of which, I Feel Good (I Feel Bad), got to number 64.

After the group broke up, Castleman went on to a solo career that included one minor hit, Judy Mae, which went to number 33 in 1975, but it was behind the scenes where he made the biggest impact.

As a guitarist, he played sessions for artists across genres including Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, Tammy Wynette, Dorsey Burnette, Gerry Mulligan and many more. As a producer, he helmed the hit Telephone Man by Mari Wilson and as a writer, wrote music for Lyle Lovett, John Denver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Michael Martin Murphy and others. (What Am I Doin') Hangin' Around, which he wrote with Murphy, was featured on three episodes of The Monkees.

Castleman also invented the Bigsby PalmPedal, a handheld device that allowed guitar players to play as if they were on a pedal steel guitar.

He is survived by two daughters and two granddaughters.


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