Gary Corbett, a keyboardist best known for his touring work with KISS and Cinderella who also co-wrote the Cyndi Lauper hit “She Bop,” has died after a battle with lung cancer. No age was given, but he died just short of his birthday today.
Corbett’s death was confirmed by his sister in a Facebook post. “Those who knew Gary know that we and the world of music have all lost a very talented, funny, kind and gentle soul,” she wrote. “The pain cuts so deeply that our hearts are bleeding.”
A native of Brooklyn, Corbett was a child prodigy on the keyboards. By age 10, he was playing private parties on weekends, He even joined a ’40s style big band with members of The Tonight Show band.
In 1976, he began touring with punk singer Cherry Vanilla and with Ian Hunter, filling in for the latter’s regular keyboardist. The Hunter tour was in support of his solo album You’re Never Alone With a Schizophrenic.
That tour proved to be a door-opener for Corbett, who became a sought-after session player in New York City. He co-wrote “She Bop,” a 1984 No. 3 Billboard hit for Lauper, and also wrote with Debbie Gibson and Martika.
Returning to the road, he supported Foreigner singer Lou Gramm’s solo debut, then was recommended to Paul Stanley of KISS, joining that group’s tour.
Corbett first toured with Kiss on their 1987 Crazy Nights tour. He was an off-stage presence. He performed the same task for Cinderella in the early 1990s, performing on their Heartbreak Station tour and winning a platinum album for his work on the band’s Wayne’s World soundtrack. (CInderella lost another band member, guitarist Jeff LaBar, just yesterday).
His most recent gig was as a member of the all-star band Scrap Metal, joining with the Nelson twins, Mark Slaughter, Lita Ford and more.
Corbett is survived by his wife, Lenora, and family.