James Rado, Hair Musical Co-Creator, Dies at 90


Hair co-creator James Rado has died at the age of 90. The Associated Press reported that the Broadway songwriter passed on Tuesday night in New York City. His cause of death is said to have been cardio respiratory arrest. Rado's publicist Merle Frimark confirmed the news when approached by the AP. Famously, the songwriter teamed with Gerome Ragni to pen the story on Hair. Meanwhile, the music was written by Galt MacDermot. It was the first musical on Broadway and broke a whole bunch of other barriers back in 1967. Hair ended up being the first show to include full nudity and a same-sex kiss. Its not a stretch to say without the success of Hair, there would be no path for Hamilton or Rent

"I'd still like 'Hair' to be about what it was about then," Rado told The Associated Press in 1993. "'Hair' had a spiritual message, and it has a mystical message I hope is coming through — there's more to life than the way it's been devised for us, explained to us, taught to us."

A lot of popular audiences discovered Hair through the radio success of The Fifth Dimension's "Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In." Engineer Bones Howe explained how the group saw the musical and immediately saw the potential in an interview with Sound on Sound.

"Rado was running through the audience while Ragni swung from a chandelier," Howe explained, "and they got the whole audience clapping along — 'Let the sunshine in, let the sunshine in...' It was very rousing and went over huge with everyone there, and I turned to my wife Melodie and said 'That's it! That's the other song! We can put the two of them together!'

"I went back to the Warwick Hotel — didn't everyone stay there back then? — and I thought 'You know what, I've got to call the publisher. I can't just cut these songs together. Rado, Ragni and MacDermot will have me if I do that.' If it's a pop song, you can do that and nobody objects, but a Broadway show number commands a different kind of respect," he added. "So, I called the publisher and I said 'Look, I know there have been a couple of recordings of "Aquarius" and they haven't been successful, but I've got this idea — I want to make a medley out of "Aquarius" and the last three bars of "The Flesh Failures".'

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Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rado family at this time.