DAN ‘BEE” SPEARS PASSES ON AT 62

DAN ‘BEE” SPEARS PASSES ON AT 62
WILLIE NELSON’S BASS PLAYER FOR OVER 40 YEARS

Please keep in your thoughts and prayers the family of Dan Spears in their time of sadness for their great loss.

 

MAY HIS SOUL REST IN THE ARMS OF HIS BLESSED SAVIOR.

 

Dan “Bee” Spears, bass player for Willie Nelson, dies at 62

(Photo: Tennessean file/Jimmy Stratton Music City)
Aug. 11, 1949 – Dec. 8, 2011
Dan “Bee” Spears, who spent more than 40 years as a lynchpin of Willie Nelson’s band, died Thursday night of exposure to the elements, after slipping and falling outside his Nashville property.
Mr. Spears, who began performing with Nelson when he was 19 years old, was 62. He was born Dan Edward Spears in Helotes, Texas, outside San Antonio. Raised in a musical family (his father was a fiddler), he joined Nelson’s band in 1968, at the recommendation of legendary steel player Jimmy Day.
He remained with Nelson through the Country Music Hall of Famer’s transition from Nashville-based country music to the heights of the freewheeling “Outlaw Movement” and into the new century.
Mr. Spears’ steady bass work was a key element in Nelson’s Family Band. When Nelson would take experimental guitar excursions, Mr. Spears provided steadying  bass lines that kept things from moving out of bounds. At other times during concerts and on albums, he and Nelson would play melodic figures together, shifting as one. He played on Nelson’s best-known albums, including Red Headed Strangerand Stardust, and also recorded with notables including Waylon Jennings, Leon Russell, Guy Clarkand Jerry Jeff Walker.
When not on the road with Nelson, Mr. Spears often performed around Nashville in a combo called Travelin’ Light, with Richie Albright, the longtime drummer for Jennings, and bluesy singer-songwriter-guitarist Ricky Ray.
In addition to his musical work, Mr. Spears appeared in movies including Honeysuckle Rose and Songwriter.
Reach Peter Cooper at (615) 259-8220 or pcooper@tennessean.com
 
The following is Dan “Bee” Spears obituary:
SPEARS, Mr. Dan “Bee” Age 62, Franklin, TN. He was a member of American Federation of Musicians, a musician for Willie Nelson for 40 years and also worked with Waylon Jennings and Guy Clark among others. Preceded in death by parents, Sam and Eva Gossett Spears and brother, David Spears. Survived by wife, Julia Jones Spears; sons, James (Sarah) Spears, Lucien (Michele) Niccore and Cyrus Niccore; daughters, Joanna (Jimmy) Pangalinan and Christy Cook; brothers, Sam (Lynn) Spears, Fred (Linda) Spears and Boudreaux Spears; sisters, Carol (Tony) Hildebrand, Eva (Jim) Johannsen and Donna (Wayne) Hosey; grandchildren, Caelen Niccore, Riley Pangalinan, Jude Pangalinan, Eva Niccore and Jesse Spears.
 
A Native American Celebration of Life Service will be conducted 12 Noon Tuesday, December 13, 2011 at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home with Native American Spiritual Leader, Donnie Dowd, Ojibway Tribe.
 
Memorials may be made to NARAS Musicares, 1904 Wedgewood, Nashville, TN 37212.
 
Visitation 4-8 p.m. Monday and two hours prior to service at WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, 615-794-2289.williamsonmemorial.com

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