Dave Trupp, who played drums on the 1969 hit “In the Year 2525,” died Tuesday at 72.
Trupp had a pulmonary embolism Saturday, his son said.
In addition to playing on the only No. 1 hit to ever come out of Lincoln, Trupp played with blues legends Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Howlin’ Wolf and backed the likes of Wayne Cochran and the Everly Brothers.
“He was an amazing, powerful drummer,” said Mark Dalton, who played bass on “In the Year 2525.” “The only guy I can think of who had that straight-ahead power was John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. He had this solid Midwestern shuffle that wouldn’t quit.”
In 1963, Trupp was working at a small sausage factory in Grand Island and came to Lincoln to try out for The Eccentrics, which became one of Lincoln’s most popular bands. He moved to Chicago and became drummer for the house band at Mother Blues, then came back to Lincoln in 1968.
Trupp and Dalton formed the Liberation Blues Band when Rick Evans of Zager and Evans invited them to record a song in a studio in a cow pasture in Odessa, Texas, with him and Denny Zager.
The song written by Evans was the ominous ballad that offered dire predictions for the future.
“We recorded that song with just Trupp and me and Rick Evans playing acoustic guitar,” Dalton said Wednesday. “It might have been one take. We’d rehearsed it a lot in Lincoln before we went down. The singing part of it took hours and hours to get the vocal harmonies right. And they brought in some musicians from the Odessa symphony -- you know it was a boomtown because it had a symphony -- to finish it off.”
The 45 was pressed on a tiny independent label, Truth Records, and became a regional hit.
"We had like 5,000 copies made, and we came back and sold them out of the trunk of a car," Trupp said in a 2012 Journal Star interview. "They sold in about a week, and so we had more made. A bunch of record people got interested in it and flew in."
Those record people included Jerry Weintraub of RCA Records, who signed the band and flew the group to Chicago to record the first Zager and Evans album, also titled “In The Year 2525 (Exordium and Terminus).”
“We made some money off that,” Dalton said. “For '2525,' Rick gave us $50 apiece and paid our expenses to Texas and back.”
Released by RCA about a year after it was recorded, “In the Year 2525 (Exordium & Terminus)” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 12, 1969, and remained there for six weeks, topping the charts during the Woodstock Music Festival.
Zager & Evans were invited to play Woodstock and appear on “American Bandstand.” But Evans was injured by a drunken driver when leaving the Royal Grove on the way to Philadelphia, the appearances were canceled and “In the Year 2525” stalled, said Trupp’s son, Emerson.
Trupp formed the band Cotton in Fort Collins, Colorado, and then moved it to Lincoln, where Cotton became the first band to play the Zoo Bar. That group broke up in 1973, and Trupp left music and worked at Der Loaf und Stein, the Cornhusker Hotel and Park Place autos.
As notice of his death circulated Wednesday, family members got calls from around the country.
“We didn’t realize how many people he had touched and influenced, especially in the music world,” said his son. “He was so generous and such a teacher. He’d teach people to play guitar even though he wasn’t a guitar player. He was a Renaissance man. He could do a little bit of everything. He read three newspapers a day. He could play the horses, play pool and play golf.
“He was a legend in life. Everybody knew who Dave Trupp was.“
Trupp is also survived by his wife, Judy.
Services will be Dec. 12 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church. A celebration of life will be Jan. 17 at the Zoo Bar.