David Dennard just sent some devastating news: Floyd Dakil is dead. Circumstances remain a little murky, but his bandmates in both Floyd Dakil and the Pitmen and the Floyd Dakil Combo confirm that the man behind the quintessential Dallas rock single of the 1960s -- "Dance, Franny, Dance," recorded in 1964 for Jetstar Records and a No. 4 hit on the KLIF charts way back when -- died Saturday night.
Ron Randall -- among the three Thomas Jefferson High School grads who began playing with Floyd in 1963 at Lamar Hunt's Pit Club at the Bronco Bowl, where they were the house band -- says he was "stunned" when he heard the news from Dennard yesterday. Randall, who was in the Pitmen and the Floyd Dakil Combo (and who played on "Dance, Franny, Dance"), said he last spoke with Dakil two weeks ago. "And we played the Lakewood Theater a year ago," he says. "We all stayed close."
Laurry Michlin, who was in the Pitmen and the Combo, says he spoke to one of Floyd's sons yesterday, and he's heartbroken at the news. "I'm 65 -- I don't want to lose any more friends," Michlin tells Unfair Park. "We had plans to have lunch today. We were supposed to meet at 11:30. ... Neither one of us wanted a funeral or a memorial service or even an obituary. If you write a column, that's OK -- that's what you do. But [his son] said his family didn't want any of that, and they'll respect his wishes. But he was the best friend: He began every conversation by asking if there was anything he could do for you." A memorial-slash-party is being planned by another friend.
Andy Michlin, Laurry's brother and a member of the Pitmen and Combo, found out about Dakil's death Sunday morning. He played with Floyd just one week ago Friday at a charity event. "And he called just a couple of days ago to confirm lunch with Laurry this morning."
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The news is stunning: Laurry Michlin says Dakil had just finished a CD, and he played South by Southwest in March. In advance of his performance, the rocker-turned-commercial real estate salesman told my old friend Michael Corcoran he was thrilled to be included on the lineup -- and stunned to find how out many kids had become fans of "Dance Franny Dance," included on Rhino Records' 1994 collection Texas Music Vol. 3: Garage Bands & Psychedelia
. "So many younger people come up to me or e-mail me and tell me how much they love that song that I've started thinking that, you know, maybe my music did have some value."
I first met Floyd almost 20 years ago for a piece I wrote about "Dance, Franny, Dance"; back then he was playing the old Summit Hotel on LBJ Freeway and Stemmons and couldn't believe anyone so young wanted to know about "that old song." I'll try to find the story in our archives. But for now, jump to dance, Franny, dance one last time."There's a good-lookin' girl down Dallas way ..."