Dave Fisher ’62 , who, with four other freshmen, formed folk group The Highwaymen at Wes in 1958, died last Friday at 69. Today’s New York Times features an interesting account of the group’s Wes-based beginnings:
The Highwaymen were remarkable for living out a fairy tale — twice. In 1958, as freshman initiates of a Wesleyan fraternity, they had to come up with an entertainment act. Under the guidance of Mr. Fisher — who as a high school student had sung and recorded with the Academics, a doo-wop group — they put together a folk music show.
By 1961 the group had a No. 1 hit with African-American traditional “Michael.” By 1962 they’d hit Greenwich Village’s active folk scene. By 1964—eight albums, ten singles, and three appearances on Ed Sullivan later—they’d call it quits.
That is, until 1990, when Fisher attended a concert by an imposter Highwaymen group featuring Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. So they sued. And then reunited. And finished what they’d started. Here’s a taste of Wes’s oldest, little-known folk stars. Take a study break; it’s worth it:
So is this the forgotten MGMT of the early 1960s? Does anyone remember Highwaymen? Probably Martin Benjamin ’57, and damned if he’ll tell you about ’em. So does Assistant Director of Student Life/Student Conduct Scott Backer, who’s apparently related to Fisher by marriage. Rock folk on, boys.
Thanks to shoutbox for the tip.