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TAMPA â€” Joe Lala, regarded as one of greatest musicians to come out of Tampa for his drum work a generation of rockâ€™s top performers, died at a hospital Tuesday morning at 66 of complications from lung cancer.
Lala, a Tampa native, performed percussion for such influential acts as Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, the Allman Brothers, The Eagles, The Bee Gees, The Byrds, Eric Clapton, Neal Diamond, Kenny Rogers, John Mellencamp and Barbara Streisand.
He accumulated 32 Gold Records and 28 Platinum records and played on the movie soundtracks of â€œSaturday Night Fever,â€ â€œStaying Alive,â€ â€œD.C. Cab,â€ â€œStreets of Fireâ€ and many more.
Lala was perhaps best known locally for the Latin-tinged pop/rock band Blues Image, founded in Tampa and famous for the song â€œRide Captain Rideâ€ â€” No. 4 during 1970 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Canadian RPM magazine charts.
He survived by his brother, Michael. Services have not yet been scheduled.
Late Monday night, told Lala had taken a turn for the worse, musician Graham Nash told the Tribune, â€œJoe Lala has been a friend and musical partner with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young for many years. He is a good hearted man and has a great sense of humor. We all wish him the very best and hope for a speedy recovery.â€
Lala died a few hours later.
â€œHe is undoubtedly one of the all-time great musicians in the history of this city,â€ said Tampa radio personality and Lalaâ€™s longtime friend Tedd Webb. â€œTake a look at his discography and all the people he played with. To play with so many legends you have to be a legend.â€
His list or recordings is at joelala.com.
â€œStephen Stills is one of the most demanding musicians I have ever known and he would ask specifically for Joe,â€ said Michael Garcia, former road manager for Stills, of CSNY, Buffalo Springfield and Manassas fame. â€œThat alone speaks volumes about Joeâ€™s talent.â€