Texas musician and humourist Kinky Friedman passes away aged 79

Friedman’s charisma and sardonic humour transcended genres
In frame: Kinky Friedman
In frame: Kinky Friedman

Kinky Friedman, the quick-witted singer-songwriter, novelist, and humourisy who left an indelible mark on Texas culture passed away on Thursday at his beloved Echo Hill Ranch at the age of 79, following a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

“Kinky Friedman stepped on a rainbow at his beloved Echo Hill surrounded by family & friends," read a heartfelt statement on his website. Despite facing immense challenges in recent years, Friedman remained a vibrant figure, known for his ‘fearless Texas chutzpah,’ as a friend of his once described it.

In frame: Kinky Friedman
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Friedman’s charisma and sardonic humour transcended genres. A gifted songwriter, he befriended legends like Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. His music, including the iconic Sold American, resonated with fans, while his sharp wit made him a media darling. Even presidents weren’t immune to his charm – Friedman counted George W Bush and Bill Clinton among his acquaintances.

His foray into politics wasn’t without a theatrical flair. In 2006, he ran a delightfully eccentric campaign for Governor of Texas, garnering a surprising 12 per cent of the votes. Classic ‘Kinky’ humour was always present – “I got my last will and testament worked out,” he once quipped. “When I die, I'm going to be cremated and the ashes are to be thrown in Rick Perry’s hair.”

Born Richard Samet Friedman in 1944, in Chicago, he grew up immersed in his family’s progressive ideals. Soon after relocating to Houston, they established Echo Hill Ranch, a summer camp that remained a constant in Friedman’s life. Sold American, released in 1973, cemented his musical legacy with its title track and other numbers like High on Jesus and The Ballad of Charles Whitman.

Friedman’s talents extended beyond music. He graced the pages of a Texas-based magazine with his popular column and authored a string of successful novels. Titles like Greenwich Killing Time, A Case of Lone Star and What Would Kinky Do? How to Unscrew a Screwed Up Worldshowcased his multifaceted talent and enduring wit.

In frame: Kinky Friedman
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Kinky was a true Texas original, leaving behind a legacy of music, laughter, and sharp social commentary. His vibrant spirit and unwavering commitment to his craft will be missed by generations of fans, fellow artists, and anyone who ever encountered his infectious charm.

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