Marshall Lytle, the bassist of Bill Haley & The Comets, died Saturday at his home in New Port Richie, Florida. According to the New York Times, Lytle had been suffering from lung cancer.
Lytle met Haley while he was playing guitar for a radio station in Chester, Pennsylvania. Haley wanted Lytle to play bass in his band, a tall order considering that Lytle had never played bass before. Haley gave him a crash course in slap bass (The Comets were originally a country band called The Saddlemen) and Lytle was on his way. Once the Saddlemen became the Comets and began playing rock ‘n’ roll, Lytle found himself in one of the most popular early rock bands.
Lytle quit the Comets in 1955 after a salary dispute with Haley and joined the rest of the former Comets as the Jodimars, a popular Las Vegas act. Lytle continued to play with the Comets off and on at reunion concerts, even after Bill Haley passed away in 1981. Lylte was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Comets in 2012.