Don Murray

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Commonly, performers with common names are mistaken for each other. In a rare case one of them gets to record a song that could serve as a response in case of subsequent mistaken identities -- such as…
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Commonly, performers with common names are mistaken for each other. In a rare case one of them gets to record a song that could serve as a response in case of subsequent mistaken identities -- such as "It Ain't Me, Babe," on which Don Murray plays drums, but not the Don Murray from the Charlie Daniels Band nor the one who makes time with Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop nor the one who engineered sessions for the Spinners. In terms of life achievements, the original drummer for the Turtles could hardly be mistaken for anybody. In addition to being a teen icon from a classic rock band and a skilled illustrator who worked in the animation industry, Murray was something of a pioneer in aviation, helping to develop the sport of hang-gliding and almost winding up strewn in pieces through the hills of San Clemente in the process.

The Turtles evolved out of a surf music band, the Crossfires, the new style of folk-rock involving a softening of rhythmic touch despite the initial reaction of folkies afraid of being impaled on drumsticks. The group's first run of glory lasted from 1965 through 1970, Murray departing in 1966. Murray was just as hands-on as a drummer needs to be in his other interests, his literally soaring passions including the actual creation of plans and fabrication of hang gliders. The continuous air traffic of the Los Angeles airport area has been given credit for Murray's interest in aviation, if not his finely meshed timing with the hi-hat and ride cymbal. As a cartoonist, Murray also seemed to be favoring creatures of flight when he named Scrooge McDuck as one his favorites. He was employed by Hannah-Barbera studios and as art director for Hot Rod magazine. In the '90s Murray performed in a reunion version of the Surfaris, returning to his surf music roots. He died in March 1996.