Donny Gerrard, lead singer of Skylark’s ‘Wildflower’ has died

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The lead singer of 1970s pop/soul band Skylark has died.

The death of Donny Gerrard, 75, who fronted the multiracial Canadian band who scored a No.1 hit with 1972′s “Wildflower,” was confirmed by Gerrard’s niece, Kimberly Christian on Thursday.

“My uncle, Donny Gerrard,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “Words cannot express my grief at this time. Rest peacefully.”

Gerrard died of cancer, according to his management company.

“Our dear brother Donny passed away early this morning at home, peacefully, surrounded by family,” said Adam Ayers of Red Light Management.

A native of Vancouver, Canada, Gerrard gained fame with the groundbreaking band centered around then-keyboardist David Foster — who would go on to become one of the most prolific pop music producers of the late 20th century.

“Wildflower” spent 21 weeks on the Billboard charts, topping out at No. 9 on the Hot 100 in the United States and No. 1 on the adult-contemporary chart in Canada.

Written by Doug Edwards and David Richardson, the million-selling song has become an R&B staple covered by an array of artists, most notably The O’Jays, Lisa Fischer, K-Ci Hailey of Jodeci, Marlena Shaw and Silk.

Following the success of “Wildflower,” Gerrard recorded as a solo artist and performed a backup singer for musicians such as Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Cher.

A proud neighbor to the north, he was among the Canadian musicians who recorded the 1985 charity single for African famine relief “Tears Are Not Enough.” Other included Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray and Eugene Levy.

As the longtime baritone backing vocalist for Mavis Staples, he performed with the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer on stage and in the studio.

“When I was asked to join her group, I was worried about the God stuff, frankly,” Gerrard told longtime Chicago Tribune rock critic Greg Kot in the expansive 2014 Staples biography, “”I’ll Take You There: Mavis Staples, The Staple Singers, and the March Up Freedom’s Highway.” “Don’t believe in it, myself. But damn, if she doesn’t make you feel something else is at work when she’s around.”

His last known work can be heard on her 2018 opus, “We Get By,” produced and written by Ben Harper.