Glenn Yarbrough's high, clear tenor served him well throughout his long career as a singer (that's him singing "Things go better with Coke" on all those commercials), and he continued to have a large and loyal fan base even after many years without a song on the pop charts. He was born on January 12, 1930, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he began singing at church functions as a child. His entry into the world of folk music came while he was a student at St. Johns College in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1951, where a late-night singing session with his roommate, Jac Holzman (who would later found Elektra Records -- Yarbrough would release a handful of records on the label) and a visiting Woody Guthrie would prove to be pivotal for Yarbrough. He bought a guitar the next day.
Following a stint in the Army as a radio operator (he served in Korea) and then a stay as a radio and television host in South Dakota, Yarbrough traveled to New York City in 1957, where he recorded an album, Come Sit by My Side, for New Traditions Records and began regularly playing the country's coffeehouse circuit. He eventually settled in Aspen, Colorado, where he purchased a local folk club called the Limelite. When Yarbrough hooked up with two other folksingers, banjo player Alex Hassilev and bassist Lou Gottlieb, the trio took the club's name, becoming the Limeliters. The group was massively successful and recorded several albums (as well as the aforementioned Coke commercial) before Yarbrough left the group in late 1963.
He recorded a solo album for RCA called Time to Move On, which yielded a number 12 pop hit in 1965, "Baby the Rain Must Fall," and solidified Yarbrough's solo career. He went on to record several albums for RCA, including a 1966 collaboration with pop poet Rod McKuen, The Lonely Things. By the early '70s Yarbrough had started his own label, Brass Dolphin, and he reunited with the Limeliters in 1973, remaining with the group this time until 1981. In the 1990s his albums were being issued by Folk Era Records, including a 1994 effort with his daughter Holly called Family Portrait. He died at daughter Holly's home in Nashville in August 2016 at the age of 86. ~ Steve Leggett