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Larson, Nicolette Leigh (17th July 1952-16th December 1997)

She was a singer and actress born in Helena, Montana, as one of six children to a family where her father was a Treasury Department employee and moved them to live in a different city within the United States every two years.

She began her career as a member of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, which was Hoyt Axton’s band.  She became a session singer and quickly became sought after and through the years she worked with artists that included The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Guy Clark, Christopher Cross, The Doobie Brothers, The Georgia Satellites, Bob Glaub, Andrew Gold, Emory Gordy, Emmylou Harris, Little Feat, Michael McDonald, Graham Nash, Willie Nelson, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bill Payne, Linda Ronstadt, Van Halen, Neil Young and many more.

She was heard as a backing vocalist on songs such as “Sweet Blue Midnight” by The Georgia Satellites, “Make a Little Magic” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and “Could This Be Magic” by Van Halen and in her solo recordings she had hits with her “I Only Want To Be With You”, “Rumba Girl”, “That’s How You Know When Love’s Right”, “Let Me Go Love” with Michael McDonald and her cover of “Lotta Love” by Neil Young in 1979 won her the “Best New Artist” Grammy Award for that year.

Albums she appeared on during the course of her career included her own Nicolette, In the Nick of Time, Radioland, Rose of My Heart and Sleep, Baby Sleep and with other artists she featured on Minute by Minute and Long Train Runnin’ 1970-2000 by The Doobie Brothers, Boats, Beaches, Bars & Ballads, Barometer Soup and Fruitcakes by Jimmy Buffett, Comes a Time, Rust Never Sleeps and Harvest Moon by Neil Young, Even Worse by Weird “Al” Yankovic, Fearless and Road Songs by Hoyt Axton, Portraits by Emmylou Harris, Flying Dreams by Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen, Greatest Hits by Michael McDonald, I Fell in Love by Carlene Carter, Halloween Howls by Andrew Gold and Christopher Cross.  She ventured out into acting in the 1980s and made an appearance in the TV shows Family Reunion and Throb and also in the movie Twins.

In 1997, when she was just 45 years old, she was struck down by a cerebral oedema and she died in December of that year from ensuing complications. Her husband was the acclaimed drummer Russell Kunkel and they have one daughter, Elsie-May.  The memorial “Lotta Love Concert” was held in her honour in February 1998.