Articles & Notes, Video — October 9, 2011 at 8:28 am

The unlucky month of October 2011… R.I.P. David Hess

October 2011 so far as been a very unlucky month. I mean first we get punched in the face with Steve Jobs passing away.

And then we got 2 deadly punches in the gut – first Charles Napier (1936-2011), and now David Hess (1942-2011).

The sad news about Hess’ passing away (some sources claim Hess died of a heart attack, while his family says otherwise) I read on Facebook yesterday.



This was posted on his Facebook page by his children:

It is with great sadness that we have said our last goodbyes to our beloved dad and friend to all. David passed away peacefully last night. The Mad Hessian lives on in his family, friends, and all of his devoted fans. Sing a song in celebration of his life.

David Hess was born in New York City on Sept. 19, 1942. He began his professional career as a songwriter for Shalimar Music in 1957, using the pseudonym of David Hill. He composed “Start Movin'” for Sal Mineo and “Rockin’ Shoes” for the Ames Brothers.

He continued to write songs for Elvis Presley through the 1950s and 1960s, including hits “Come Along” and “Sand Castles.” In 1963, Hess wrote and recorded “Speedy Gonzalez” for Pat Boone, which became a #6 hit single in the U.S. and a #2 hit in the UK.

Hess became head of A&R at Mercury Records in New York back in 1969. At Mercury Records he met John Corigliano, the Western classical composer, and together they wrote the Grammy award-winning rock opera, “The Naked Carmen.”

In 1972, Hess dived into the film industry debuting in his starring role as Krug Stilo in Wes Craven’s “The Last House on the Left,” for which he also composed the soundtrack.

Hess had a number of other film credits to his name, including: Wes Craven’s “Swamp Thing,” Ruggero Deodato’s “House at the Edge of the Park”, “Body Count”, “Oceano” tv-series, and Ulli Lommel’s “Zodiac Killer” and “Zombie Nation.” His last film was “Smash Cut” in 2009.

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing David back in 2009, feel free to read the interview here. And below is a video devoted to Hess. Rest in Peace, and thanks for all the memories. I really hope we’re not going to have any more “pleasant” surprises like this one till the end of 2011.

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  1. I met Mr Hess at Frightfest in London, 2009. I was in such awe of him; he signed my hitch hike, lhotl and house on the edge of the park covers . I met him outside and my friend dared me to ask him for a photo with me which he graciously agreed to. It’s now my screensaver.

    A true horror legend and a really, really cool guy. RIP

  2. Indeed, this was a very unexpected loss. Thank you for sharing the memories, Peter.

    R.I.P. DH

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