Col. Bruce Hampton Dies After Collapsing at Birthday Concert

by Steve Spohn
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BruceHamptonWikiIt is with deep regret that we report the passing of musical pioneer Col. Bruce Hampton. He died doing what he loved best, surrounded by friends and fellow musicians.

The veteran jam-scene artist – known for his explorative work in rock fusion – collapsed onstage during an event celebrating his 70th birthday at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta (see video below). He later died.

Although Hampton participated in many collaborative projects, he’s perhaps best known for his work with the Hampton Grease Band – an act that opened for the Grateful Dead and The Allman Brothers Band among others. More recently, Hampton had worked with the Aquarium Rescue Unit.


John Popper [photo: Gage Skidmore]

The Colonel’s birthday concert featured a parade of A-list musicians, including John Popper, Jimmy Herring, Warren Haynes, Duane Trucks, John Bell, Jeff Sipe, Jon Fishman, Rev. Jeff Mosier and Chuck Leavell.

Footage of the concert posted on YouTube shows Hampton collapsing onstage during the show finale, “Turn On Your Lovelight.” Apparently, the other performers thought Hampton was kidding around as they continued to play and look on as he laid motionless on the stage floor.

They would eventually realize the gravity of the situation. Here’s raw fan footage from the floor of the Fox:

With the passing of Col. Bruce Hampton, the world of music has lost one of its truly unique visionaries.

Hear more about the artist’s life in my 2015 interview with Hampton here.

Rest in peace, Colonel.

Steve Spohn is a former Saturday Night Live and Nickelodeon Television executive. Growing up near Princeton, NJ, led to a musical addiction, with WMMR in Philly and WNEW in NYC providing the daily dose. When not attending or planning to attend Bruce Springsteen concerts, he's plugging away as a screenwriter in Beverly Hills. Reach Steve at