Longtime Peter, Paul and Mary bassist Richard “Dick” Kniss has passed away from pulmonary disease at the age of 74.
The bassist was referred to as the fourth member of the trio and performed with the folk outfit for nearly 50 years. He also made waves as John Denver’s bassist and co-writer of the hit “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”
Born in Portland, Oregon in 1937, Kniss helped form the original John Denver Band, staying on board for nearly eight years before moving to San Francisco. In addition to his folky/country roots, he had a healthy jazz career. His playing credits include Woody Herman, Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Zoot Sims, Don Friedman, Teddy Charles and Sal Salvador.
Kniss was also active in the civil rights movement and performed at the first celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday.
Our condolences to the family and friends of Dick Kniss.