Keyboard artist Larry Knechtel dead at 69

August 23, 2009 4:10:58 PM PDT
Larry Knechtel of Yakima, a Grammy award-winning keyboard artist who accompanied musicians such as Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and Neil Diamond, is dead at 69.

Knechtel died Thursday at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital of an apparent heart attack. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for Valley Hills Funeral Home.

Knechtel was born in Bell, Calif. He performed live and in studio recordings with a wide range of artists, including Neil Diamond, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr. and Elvis Costello.

He earned a Grammy award for his arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," played keyboard on the Dixie Chicks' Grammy award-winning album "Taking the Long Way," and performed on the Hammond organ for the group's tour of the same name.

Knechtel moved to Yakima in 2003.

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