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'Lay a Little Lovin' on Me' Singer Robin McNamara Dies at 74: 'Gentlest of Gentle Souls'

·3-min read
Robin McNamara
Robin McNamara

Ron Feigenbaum/Pix/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Robin McNamara

Robin McNamara, a singer-songwriter known for his '70s hit "Lay a Little Lovin' on Me," as well as his run in the Broadway show Hair, has died. He was 74.

An update shared to McNamara's website said he died on Oct. 21, though his cause of death was not disclosed.

"On October 21, 2021, Robin McNamara gained his angel wings," the update read. "This gentlest of gentle souls was predeceased by his loving wife, Suzie, who departed the earthly plane on May 16, 2018. Robin and Suzie are now reunited for all eternity. Robin will be greatly missed, for his talent but especially for his kind and loving spirit."

"Lay a Little Lovin' on Me," McNamara's signature track, reached the No. 11 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1970, according to Billboard.

In July, the musician discussed the song's origins in a Facebook post, explaining that he wrote it with Jimmy Cretecos, his writing partner at the time.

"We brought it to Jeff Barry, and he liked where it was going but was leery of the song's title at first," McNamara wrote. "He thought it might be a little too raunchy even after I pointed out the success Bob Dylan was having with 'Lay Lady Lady,' which was currently in the top 10."

McNamara said they ultimately changed the song's title to "Take a Little Time to Know Me," but that title only lasted for a week.

"We all began to realize how bland it sounded and we went back to the original title," he wrote. "When we decided to do that I'll never forget Jeff saying, '"Okay, if we're going to go in that direction…' then he started banging on his desk, searching for a rhythm and then came up with the first line, 'Can't you see that I am 'HUNG'…..on your love' and then we all paused, looked at each other and started laughing. We then proceeded to finish the song together."

In an interview shared to his website, McNamara, who was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts, said he formed his first band in high school, and toured New England before eventually moving to New York City.

"I'd pick up the trade papers like The Village Voice and there would be ads in there for a singer for this or for that and I'd go and audition," he said.

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He eventually received an offer from a management company, which ultimately led him to audition for Hair.

"I had no clue. I said, 'What's Hair?' [A secretary] told me it was a Broadway show and they're looking to replace some of the cast," he recalled. "I went down and auditioned and I had about three auditions for that and they finally hired me to do the show."

McNamara went on to play the lead role of Claude in Hair from 1969 through 1971.

In more recent years, he continued to write and record, and performed a show called Stuck In the Sixties, according to the interview.

"It's just a flashback and we have a wonderful light show and sound system and smoke machines," he said. "It's a lot of fun. I'm having a lot of fun with it."

He married wife Suzie in 1998. She died in 2018, according to her obituary.

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