Nashville, Tenn. (CelebrityAccess) — Dave Rowland, frontman of the country-pop group Dave & Sugar, died November 1 in Nashville, due to complications from a stroke. He was 74.
Before he went on to fame with Dave & Sugar, Rowland began his professional career with noted gospel singer J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet, who, at the time, were touring with Elvis Presley.
Rowland also performed with the country group The Fabulous Four Guys and became part of Country Music Hall of Fame member Charley Pride’s roadshow.
In 1975, Rowland assembled a backup band for Pride, hiring Jackie Frantz and Vicki Hackeman to form Dave & Sugar.
After signing on with Pride’s management team, Dave & Sugar signed with RCA Records and recorded their first album and their first hit with their first single “Queen of the Silver Dollar.” Written by Shel Silverstein, “Queen” cracked the top 25 in early 1976.
Dave & The Sugar followed up on their initial success with their second single “The Door Is Always Open,” which hit #1 on the country charts.
Two successive singles, “I’m Gonna Love You,” and “Don’t Throw It All Away,” used the same basic formula as “The Door Is Always Open,” and also became huge hits in 1976-77. Their peak run garnered nearly one dozen Top 10 singles, including two more No. 1 hits – “Tear Time” (1978) and “Golden Tears” (1979). Overall, Dave & Sugar charted 16 times on the Billboard country charts.
In addition to touring with Charlie Pride, Rowland also performed with country music luminaries such as Conway Twitty, Hank Williams, Jr., Waylon Jennings, and Barbara Mandrell and he served as the opening act for Kenny Rogers for two years.
Despite the success of Dave & Sugar, Rowland disbanded the group briefly in the early 1980s while he attempted to make a go as a solo artist, but later re-launched the band with new collaborators.
Apart from music, Rowland was an avid athlete, competing in the local tournaments such as the Music City Invitational Tennis Tournament and the Bob Mueller Golf Tournament.
In July, Rowland was injured in a fall and suffered multiple breaks in his vertebrae that required surgery.
Dave Rowland is survived by his wife Terri Rowland, mother Ruby Rowland and sister Donna Fort and her husband Bob, of Palm Desert, Calif., sister-in-law Angie Billis of Nashville, Tenn., niece Vicki Martinka and husband John in Pennsylvania, and nephew Bobby Fowler and wife Belen and their two children in Argentina.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations in the name of Dave Rowland be sent to the Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. In 2014, Rowland was honored by the Music City Tennis Invitational in recognition of four decades of event participation with proceeds to benefit the hospital.
Arrangements are pending for a celebration of life service.