Glenn Robertson Yarbrough (January 12, 1930 – August 11, 2016)
I’ve always enjoyed writing about musical artists who have managed long, successful careers that have continued even into their ‘senior’ years. A good example is Glenn Yarbrough, who has had many years of success, both as a member of the Limeliters and as a solo artist. Along the way he also had a prominent part in an unforgettable TV commercial.
The Milwaukee-born Yarbrough got his first exposure to music as a child, singing in church. By the time he was in college in the early Fifties, he’d become fascinated by folk music. His interest — and a determination to learn guitar — was fueled by catching Woody Guthrie’s act one night.
After his Army service during the Korean War, Yarbrough spent some time in regional radio, but eventually relocated to New York, where he soon began to appear in area folk-music clubs. He was also able to make a few records, but even though his clear tenor voice was appreciated by fans, he didn’t make a big splash at that time.
Eventually he moved to Aspen, Colorado, and purchased a club called the Limelite. It was an inspired step, because it led to him joining with bassist Lou Gottlieb and banjoist Alex Hassilev to form a singing group they called the Limeliters. Yarbrough and his buddies enjoyed tremendous popularity for a few years, selling records, touring, and appearing on TV. (And making a memorable Coca-cola TV ad.)
During the decade of the Sixties Yarbrough moved on to a solo career, one that has had its ups and downs, but ultimately proved to be long and rewarding. His biggest hit has been the familiar “Baby, the Rain Must Fall,” but songs such as “It’s Gonna Be Fine” and others helped keep him popular with fans.
The Limeliters reunited for a period during the Seventies, and Yarbrough has in recent years teamed up with his daughter, Holly, who is also a talented singer. He continues to appear from time to time, but spends a lot of his time on his sailboat, enjoying what has been a lifelong love of sailing.