UPDATED with bandmates’ statement: Jeff LaBar, a guitarist who was a key part of the hard rock band Cinderella as it rose to fame in the 1980s “hair band” heyday, has died. No cause was immediately available, but his son confirmed the death in an Instagram post.
LaBar’s first wife, Gaile LaBar-Bernhardt, told TMZ that he was found dead Wednesday inside his Nashville apartment.
Cinderella was formed in the Philadelphia suburbs and became part of the big-haired, hard rock bands that emerged in a wave during the mid-1980s. Fronted by singer Tom Keifer, the band had several platinum or multiplatinum albums and was an MTV sensation. LaBar joined in 1985, replacing original guitarist Michael Schermick. He played on all four of the band’s studio albums.
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The group’s first two albums, 1986’s Night Songs and 1988’s Long Cold Winter, both hit top 10 on the Billboard 200 chart, with the former spending two weeks at No. 3. Both were certified triple-platinum for sales of over 3 million copies each, and follow-up Heartbreak Station went platinum.
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Cinderella was a regular on rock radio with such songs as “Shake Me,” “Nobody’s Fool,” “Gypsy Road,” “Coming Home,” “Somebody Save Me” and three top 10 mainstream-rock hits: “Shelter Me,” “Heartbreak Station” and “Don’t Know What You Got (‘Til It’s Gone).” The latter was the group’s biggest pop single, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Nobody’s Fool” hit No. 13 on that chart.
But as that era of hard-partying hard rock ended, Cinderella’s fortunes waned. They kept working, but broke up in the early 1990s. They reunited in 1996 and continued to perform, but stopped recording after the 1994 album Still Climbing.
The band was last seen in the 2014 Monsters of Rock Cruise but again went on hiatus.
In addition to his work with Cinderella, LaBar had a solo album, 2014’s One for the Road.
His former Cinderella bandmates Tom Keifer, Eric Brittengham and Fred Coury issued a joint tribute today:
“Heavy hearts cannot begin to describe the feeling of losing our brother Jeff. The bond between us over decades of creating music and touring the world is something that we as a band uniquely shared. Those memories with Jeff will be forever alive in our hearts. It’s unimaginable that one of our band brothers has left us. We’re sending his wife Debinique, his son Sebastian, family, and friends our deepest condolences.”
Jeff’s memory and music will be with us forever.
We all — band, family and management == appreciate the overwhelming outpouring of love.
Rest In Peace Jeff” – Tom, Eric & Fred
LaBar and LaBar-Bernhardt’s son, Sebastian, posted on Instagram and offered some photos on his father.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.
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