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Marc Benno (born July 1, 1947, Dallas, Texas) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He grew up immersed in popular music, because his father managed the Texas State Fair's Music Hall Garden. Backstage he was able to meet stars like Sam Cooke, Laverne Baker, Frankie Avalon, Paul Anka, The Drifters, and Lloyd Price. His first entree into the blues came when he heard and became fascinated with the album Lightnin' In New York by Lightnin Hopkins. He would later get the opportunity to work with Lightnin Hopkins, along with several other top musicians, including Leon Russell, The Doors, Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, Mance Lipscomb, Bill Wyman, and Georgie Fame.

Biography Marc Benno -Ambush-

Early career
Still in his early teens, Benno started his own pop/R&B group, which found regional success. Inspired by this experience, Benno moved to Los Angeles to further pursue music in the mid-1960s. His group The Outcasts were signed exclusively to Dot Records in 1966.

Benno's Texas Blues background set him apart from other guitarists in Los Angeles at the time, bringing him attention from many respected musicians and producers, and making him a sought after guitarist for session work.

Collaboration with Leon Russell
Benno struck up a friendship with fellow session-man Leon Russell, eventually moving into Leon's house on Skyhill Drive in Hollywood, where he initially crashed in Leon's closet. With Leon he was able to hang out and jam with a plethora of musicians who frequented the home/studio, building relationships that would influence his career for many years to come. It was here that he initially met Eric Clapton, who would later play guitar on two tracks on Benno's 1979 album Lost In Austin.

Benno and Russell started a group called the Asylum Choir, and began recording their first album Look Inside the Asylum Choir, a psychedelic rock album, which was released in 1968 on Smash Records. The album was the first recording released that came from Skyhill, and the first recording for both Benno and Russell where they were the featured artists.

The duo went on to record a second album in 1969, titled Asylum Choir II, which was intended for release in 1969, but held up by legal issues for two years, eventually being released in 1971 on Leon's label Shelter Records.

The Doors - L.A. Woman
In 1971 Benno was called on by psychedelic rock greats The Doors, who were looking for someone to play a bluesy, Texas styled guitar on the sessions for the LA Woman album, released in 1971 on Elektra Records. Also called on to play was session bassist Jerry Scheff, known for his work with Elvis Presley. Although unfamiliar with the band prior to the sessions, Benno developed a strong bond with Jim Morrison, the two of them having lunch together frequently during the sessions. The album would be the last recording by the Doors, before the death of Jim Morrison on July 3, 1971. It contained two top 20 hits and has gone on to be their second best-selling studio album, surpassed in sales only by their debut. The album explored their R&B roots, although during rehearsals they had a falling-out with Rothchild. Denouncing "Riders On The Storm" as 'cocktail jazz', he quit and handed the production to Botnick. The singles "L.A. Woman", "Love Her Madly" (the Doors last top ten hit), and "Riders On The Storm" remain mainstays of rock radio programming, and the latter, as of November 25, 2009, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for its special significance to recorded music. During the sessions, a short clip of the band performing "Crawling King Snake" was filmed. So far as known, this is the last clip of the Doors performing with Morrison.

A&M Records
With his career on the rise, Benno struck a deal with A&M Records in 1970 to launch his solo career. With A&M he released three albums, the first being 1970s self-titled album, which included the song Nice Feelin, which would become the title track to the 1971 release by Rita Coolidge, and the song Second Story Window, covered by Rita Coolidge on her self-titled debut album in 1971. Benno's second album, Minnows, was released in 1971. Both albums included musicians from A&M and Shelter Records, and Minnows even included Clarence White from the Byrds.

For his 1972 release Ambush, another stellar group of musicians was assembled, including Booker T Jones, Bonnie Bramlett, Ray Brown, Jim Keltner, Carl Radle, Bobby Keys, and Jesse Ed Davis. Ambush is often considered to be Benno's best album, and featured the song, "Donut Man", which would be covered by Rita Coolidge for her 1972 release The Lady's Not for Sale.

Benno returned to A&M in 1979 for his release Lost In Austin, which featured Eric Clapton on guitar for two tracks.

Marc Benno & the Nightcrawlers
Following the release of Ambush in 1972, Benno returned to his Texas Blues roots, forming the band Marc Benno & the Nightcrawlers. The band featured Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitar, Doyle Bramhall on drums, Tommy McClure on bass and Billy Etheridge on keyboards. The group quickly gained a following, becoming underground legends in the Austin music scene of the 70s. They recorded one album, Crawlin, at Sunset Sound in Hollywood. Following the recording session, the group went off on tour with J. Geils and Humble Pie. When they returned, they found that A&M had decided not to release the album, due to an abundance of blues/rock releases they were dealing with at the time. The album was shelved until it was self-released by Benno in 2006, and eventually released worldwide on the Blue Skunk Music label in 2009.

Lightnin' Hopkins
During 1974 and 1975, Benno's childhood influences came full circle when he joined Lightnin Hopkins band as second guitarist. Benno considers this time with Hopkins as essential in making him an authentic blues player.

1980s to present
Benno's career got an unexpected boost in 1985 when his song "Rock & Roll Me Again" was recorded by The System for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. The album won the Grammy that year for Best Score for a Motion Picture, a first Grammy for Benno.

By the end of the 1980s, a partying lifestyle and long hours away from home were catching up with Benno, and he became burned out, losing his interest in music until the mid 1990s when his friends and family finally helped him get back on track, and helped him to realize he did not have to be high to do his job.[citation needed]

Now residing in Texas, Benno continues to write songs, record music, and jam with local musicians. He even found time to earn a Psychology degree and spent some time in culinary school. He continues to perform around Texas, and has recently toured in Japan and New England. He has self-released a number of albums, and is currently signed to Blue Skunk Music for his last two international releases.