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Buzzy Linhart

Cleveland, early 1960s -

William "Buzzy" Linhart goes back to the early days of the Greenwich Village scene, where he hung out with John Sebastian, Fred Neil, and later he played on Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland LP. While Buzzy's musical career is fairly well known among fans of the Village and 60s music, his Cleveland roots are not.

He was born in the Pittsburgh area, but his family moved to Cleveland when he was a couple years old. He grew up in the greater Cleveland area and attended the Cleveland Music School Settlement, where his primary instrument was vibraphone, the same instrument he played with Jimi. After high school he joined the US Navy band.

In 1963, at the age of 19-20, he moved to New York City and settled in the Village. He was not a pure folkie - Woody Guthrie doesn't adapt so well to vibraphone - but his eclectic style fit into a scene of non- conformity. He played in the raga-influenced band the Seventh Sons, who made one LP for the legendary esp'-disk label, around the same time Clevelander Albert Ayler was on the label.

After playing on sessions for Hendrix and others, he recorded his first solo LP for Philips, in England, with the English mod-psych band Eyes of Blue backing him. The LP wasn't a success and it was the end of the Philips recording deal. His next LP came out in the 1971, credited to a band called Music, of which Buzzy was the leader. The band only seemed to exist as a studio project. 

Two more LPs were issued in 1971-2 on Kama Sutra records. The LPs sold a bit from FM radio play but not enough to make him a star. In 1974 he made one LP for Atco records. A song from the first Kama Sutra LP "Friends", co-written with Mark "Moogy" Klingman (best known for his work with Todd Rundgren), became a theme song for, of all people, Bette Midler during the 1970s.

Around this time (1974-5) he returned to Cleveland - he may have been there a few years earlier, but we don't know. He started playing locally and eventually got together with a backing band, nickname the Buzzards. He spent the rest of the 1970s working mainly in Cleveland at places like the Cellar Door, going against the tide of the local music scene to play his unique style of original music. He didn't release any records during this time. Around 1979 he split with the Buzzards who reinvented themselves as the Generators. Buzzy moved out west and he seems to have stayed there, while his family remained in Cleveland until his parents retired in the 1990s.

Buzzy is still an active performer and has made some recordings in the past 15 or so years. His younger brother Gair Linhart was also an active musician in Cleveland.