Internationally renowned Canadian keyboard player, Michael Fonfara has died in a Toronto hospital on January 8, 2021, due to complications from his two-year battle with cancer. He was 74.
Born in Stevensville, ON, Canada in 1946, the former Lou Reed keyboardist/bandleader appeared on nine of Reed’s albums between 1974 and 2005, including his highest charting US album (#10) Sally Can’t Dance on RCA, as well as Rock and Roll Heart, Street Hassle, The Bells (which Fonfara executive produced) and Growing Up In Public that was co-written and co-produced by Fonfara for Clive Davis’ Arista Records in 1980.
A supremely talented musician, Fonfara loved many different styles of music, performing on British-American Rock band Foreigner’s iconic album 4, produced by Mutt Lange, including their Top 5 Billboard Hot 100 hit “Urgent”. He also recorded with The Everly Brothers, Rough Trade, Rhinoceros, Electric Flag and was a current and 30-year plus member of Canadian blues legends Downchild, who are perhaps best known as the inspiration for Hollywood stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s hit film The Blues Brothers, until his untimely death.