Former Classics IV singer Dennis Yost dies at 65


LISA CORNWELL, Associated Press Writer
Mon Dec 8, 11:30 pm ET

CINCINNATI – Dennis Yost, lead singer of the 1960s group the Classics IV, has died in an Ohio hospital. He was 65.

Yost died Sunday at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, about 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati. He died of respiratory failure, hospital spokeswoman Marielou Vierling said.

The Classics IV’s hits included “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces of Love.”

Yost had been in nursing homes since suffering a brain injury sustained in a 2005 fall, said Joe Glickman, the singer’s friend and biographer .

“I’m still in shock because he was fine Saturday morning,” said his wife, Linda Yost, of suburban Hamilton. “And by, you know, early Sunday morning he was gone.”

The Classics IV got their start in Jacksonville, Fla., where Yost, a native of Detroit, was raised, Glickman said. Their hit recordings were produced in Atlanta under the supervision of producer Buddy Buie and Bill Lowery, founder of Lowery Music Inc.

The group performed together for about five years.

Buie, who was a co-writer of the group’s songs with the group’s guitarist, J.R. Cobb, said: “Dennis had an incredible voice — just a great voice for love songs.”

The 67-year-old Buie, who’s retired and living in Eufaula, Ala., added: “I am deeply saddened by his passing.”

Cobb, 65, said he and Yost grew up in Jacksonville and rode motorcycles together before they were in the band. Cobb, who later performed with the Atlanta Rhythm Section and with the Highwaymen — a country group that included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson — is retired and lives in Monticello, Ga.

“Dennis was a friend as well as a fellow musician,” said Cobb. “I always thought he had a very distinctive voice, and I think we had some of the hits we had because of him and his ability as a singer.”

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a vocalist with the former rock and comedy group Sha Na Na, held a benefit concert last year to help with Yost’s increasing medical costs, Glickman said.

“He was a tremendous talent who did an enormous amount of the work for that group,” said Bauman, who works against copycat performers as chairman of Truth in Music, based at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation in Sharon, Pa.

“Paradoxically, I came to know Dennis better in the later years, in which he was involved in a massive struggle to retain his own musical identity, which was one of the saddest and most difficult cases of someone losing the name of their own group, when he had pretty much been the group,” Bauman said.

Bauman said truth in music legislation has been adopted in 26 states, and a bill was expected to make it through the legislature and to the governor’s desk next week in Yost’s home state of Ohio.

Yost is survived by his wife and five children. A memorial service is planned for this weekend, Linda Yost said.

Published in: on December 9, 2008 at 3:01 am  Comments (12)  
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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I listened to all of Dennis Yost & The Classics IV music when I was a teenager. Those were very sweet memories of love and innocence. Dennis you will be greatly missed……I will see you in heaven someday.
    Curtis Hinton Jr.

  2. I’m 25. And I love oldies. Classics IV are one of my favorites groups. “Spooky” is my favorite Classics IV song. You will forever be remembered and missed, Dennis. Now I must dedicate “Stormy” to you. : ( I love you.

  3. i was pulling up the song stormy on my computer and just learned of dennis’s passing. as we loose more and more of these great artist it sadden’s me deeply because there will never be another dennis or the classics 4. such a tragedy! my thoughts and prayers are with the family, and may his music and his legacy live on forever.

    • What you say is so true Leland and all the more reason to cherish the wonderful music these greats have left behind. There will never be another set of innovative musicians like we had in the late fifties through the entire Sixties IMHO.

  4. I met Dennis once. He was as fine a gentleman as ever there was, especially to have been such a big star. He took time to talk to me and answer my questions about how to advance my own songwriting career. He was genuine!

    I was floored to learn he had passed away. He was a blessing to this world.

    • Wow. I am honored that you shared details of your meeting with Mr. Yost here. Thank you Harley.

  5. Wow, I was downloading sweet love songsfrom the 60’s and just saw that Dennis Yost passed away last year. That was and is my generation! The sounds and music of the 60’s will never be back but, it’ll also never be forgotten! One reason is because of the artists such as Dennis and the classics IV! Many loving memories…. They will always be as fresh as a warm summer night! Rest in peace Dennis

    • Very well said Manuel. Welcome to OSML and thank you for your comment. It is unfortunate though that we meet under this circumstance. I am glad you found my blog and hope that you to continue to allow me to inform and entertain you musically.

  6. I met Dennis in Jackson Mississippi at the state fair.
    He was there playing with a bunch of old sixties groups. It was titled 30 years of rock and roll. Anyway after the show was over i saw him out in the midway and I talked to him about 10 minutes. I told him that change of heart was my favorite classic iv song. He was extremely cordial, he also told me that he didn’t have the rights to his own music. I felt he was extremely sad about this and I will never forget the sadness that came from his eyes about this. Dennis you were a classic and you will be missed dearly.

    • Wow. Thanks for sharing that here at OSML David. Artists having their just reward for their creativity is no joke! It should be a mandatory thing but unfortunately the music business is cruel and cutthroat.
      I am so glad you got to tell Dennis how you felt about his artistic creation: I am sure that meant a lot to him.
      BTW that sixties concert sounds like it was awesome. Who else was on the bill?

      • It was a great show which included gary lewis and the playboys. Gary Pucket, Mitch Ryder, Pat Upton lead singer for Spiral Starecase, Fith Dimension. I,M leaving sombody out for this was about 20 years ago.

        THe show was under a big tent and was open to the public for free. Unbelievable dont you think. all that musical talent for free.

        • That is a remarkable talent line-up for free! Ahh the good old days! Nice show!
          Now I stick to dvd concerts since I refuse to pay $200. or more just for a nosebleed seat to see some no talent singer that I won’t be able to hear or see due to the screaming stand-up gen x crowd 😉

          Thanks for sharing!

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