Richard Lewis “Wayne” Parker, musician, singer, songwriter, arranger, music producer, Idyllwild Arts van driver and 10-year Town Crier employee, died Sunday night, Feb. 17, after a three-month struggle with lymphoma. He was 81.
Music-producing partner Ron Combes, who has known and worked with Parker for more than 30 years, said of him, “There was not a negative bone in his body.”
He remembered several of Parker’s successes as a singer and songwriter in the 1970s. An album Parker co-produced with Mike Curb in the 70s, “Oklahoma Twilight,” received national attention. One of Parker’s songs from that album, “Good News, Bad News,” which country singer Eddie Raven covered, made it to number 27 on the country charts in 1975.
Combes remembers Parker started as a stand-up bass player and singer. At one point in his career, he played bass, backing Jimmie Rodgers (“Honey Comb”). Said Combes, “We’d do weekend concerts with Rodgers.”
Parker graduated from Hamilton High School in West Los Angeles, from UCLA with a bachelor’s degree in art design, and served in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper.
He is survived by wife Lori, son Richard, daughter Melanie and stepdaughters Diane and Susan.