Dino Danelli, The Rascals Founding Drummer, Dead at 78
Dino Danelli, a founding member of The Rascals and one of the foundational drummers of early rock and roll, is dead at the age of 78.
His passing was announced in a Facebook post by friend and Rascals historian Joe Russo. Russo didn’t cite an exact cause of death, but noted, “His primary challenges were coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure, but there were many others.”
Born in 1944 in Jersey City, New Jersey, Danelli co-founded the Young Rascals in 1965 with guitarist Gene Cornish, keyboardist and vocalist Felix Cavaliere, and singer Eddie Brigati. Together they scored a No. 1 hit with a cover of Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick’s “Good Lovin’,” and they matched the feat with the original tune “Groovin’.”
In 1968 the band rechristened themselves The Rascals and followed the move by releasing several more hits, notably “A Beautiful Morning” and “People Got to Be Free,” before breaking up in 1971. “He was my brother and the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen,” Cornish wrote on Facebook. “I am devastated at this moment.”
From 1982 to 1984, Danelli played drums in Stevie Van Zandt’s backing band Disciples of Soul. Van Zandt called him, “One of the greatest drummers of all time” on Instagram.
In 2010, The Rascals reunited for charity, and in 2013 they toured North America and performed a residency at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway with their “Once Upon a Dream” production. Revisit some classic The Rascals hits below, and scroll onward for tributes to Danelli.