We’ve lost a gifted but underappreciated songwriter. His name is one you may not recognize: Michael Brown:
Michael Brown, a songwriter and keyboardist for the “baroque rock” band the Left Banke who co-wrote its 1966 pop hit “Walk Away Renee,” died March 19 at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 65.
The cause was a heart ailment, a family spokeswoman said.
Mr. Brown was born Michael Lookofsky and grew up in Brooklyn. He was a classically trained keyboardist, and his father ran a New York music studio where the Left Banke recorded.
Brown will be remembered for “Walk Away Renee,” a tearful and lovely song about a couple breaking up. But in my opinion, Brown’s most moving and magical creation was “Pretty Ballerina.” For me, this wistful, haunting melody still defines the late 60s. I can still hear it playing on the radio of my father’s 1968 Buick Skylark. It’s a sweltering summer afternoon, and I can see the girls at my high school I was too shy to approach smiling back at me.
Here’s to you, Michael. Thanks for the memories.