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Sneaky Pete Kleinow

One of the unsung heroes of the country-rock movement, steel guitarist and songwriter Sneaky Pete Kleinow was born August 20, 1934, in South Bend, IN. Influenced by the music of Jerry Byrd, he took up the steel guitar at the age of 17 and, after graduating high school, spent over a decade as a road maintenance worker for the Michigan State Highway Department. In 1963, Kleinow relocated to Los Angeles, where he became a regular performer on the city's club circuit; he also found work composing jingles and even wrote the theme music for the children's series Gumby. In addition, he began working in Hollywood developing special effects for films.

In 1965, Kleinow played on his first record, backing the Ventures on their "Blue Star." While performing in an area club, he met Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, who approached Kleinow about joining the band they were organizing apart from their current venture, the folk-rock pioneers the Byrds. Kleinow agreed, and after a brief tenure as a Byrds sideman he joined Parsons and Hillman in the Flying Burrito Brothers; the band's 1969 debut, The Gilded Palace of Sin, established the very blueprint for the country-rock genre.

Kleinow remained with the Burritos through April 1971, appearing on the 1970 LP Burrito Deluxe and its eponymously titled follow-up. At the same time, he became a sought-after session musician who played on records by Joe Cocker, Delaney & Bonnie, and Little Feat. After departing the Burritos, he focused all of his energies on session work, appearing with John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and the Steve Miller Band. In 1974, Kleinow briefly joined the band Cold Steel; the following year, he signed on with a reformed Flying Burrito Brothers for the album Flying Again.

After two more Burritos LPs -- 1976's Airborne and 1978's Live in Tokyo -- Kleinow cut his first solo record, Sneaky Pete, in 1978. Following one final Burritos album, 1981's Hearts on the Line, he gradually withdrew from the music industry to focus on creating special effects; the films he worked on included The Empire Strikes Back, The Right Stuff, Gremlins, and both Terminator features. Nevertheless, he occasionally returned to music, performing with diverse artists like Leonard Cohen, Medicine, and the Golden Palominos. In 1994, he released the solo effort The Legend and the Legacy and led a new Burritos lineup on a tour of Europe. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

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Sneaky Pete is The MAN!
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1_connie
THIS I THE SONG WHEN RITCHIE VALEN DIED I STARTED CRYING SO BAD AND THIS SONG MAKES ME FALL ASLEEP AND SENCE I DONT SEE MY MOMMY ANYMORE AND BUT WHY RITCHIE WHY DID IT HAVE TO BE HIM AND WHY DID HE HAVE TO GET ON THAT PLANE WHY DIDNT HE JUST GO ON THE BUS IT WOULD BE BETTER LIKE REALLY STILL SAD RIGHT NOW
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LOVE THIS SORT OF MUSIC!!
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kmizell.km
Pete played some really great stuff on Linda Ronstadt's live recordings. Amazing talent, and different too.
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Hey Cesar me too
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I fell sleepy alll the time i here this song
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Beautiful ;)
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My dad use to play this every Sunday early to wake us up . MIA :-*
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allasp3
Without a doubt the best steel guitar player I've ever heard in my life! He put magic into every song he ever recorded on. No other steel guitarist even comes close to this musicians talent.
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The unsung reason why "Gilded Palace of Sin" sounds the way it does
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The song sleepwalk always made me think of beaches and hawaii and sunsets and bonfires. Maybe because I grew up in San Diego? I never think of country when I hear that song.
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mytacosaninj a
I Loved this guy!!
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gingerwest33
So moving!
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Sneaky invented sound!!!!
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Along with Studebaker, the best thing to come out of South Bend.

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