Throughout their career, Los Angeles' Little Feat have proved their resilience, as they persevered through line-up changes, the death of their founder, and stylistic shifts to create one of the most storied and varied catalogs in rock history. Their music blends the sounds of the blues, country, rock 'n' roll, funk, and soul to create an original, catchy sound that has made them one of rock's most enduring and beloved groups.
Little Feat was formed by Lowell George, a young guitarist, who had made his name in Frank Zappa's backing band, the Mothers of Invention. He joined up with keyboardist, Bill Payne, who had auditioned for the Mothers of Invention, but had declined to join. When George was fired from the Mothers, he recruited Payne, and they were joined by fellow Mothers, Roy Estrada and Richie Hayward. The quartet recorded their debut, Little Feat (Warner Brothers, 1971), which received nationwide critical acclaim, though it did not sell particularly well (roughly 11,000 copies). The group continued to make albums until 1979, when tragedy struck. The group's principal songwriter and band leader, Lowell George, died of a heart attack in Arlington, VA at the age of 34. The police were not able to directly link the death with substance abuse, but George's rampant drug use caused many to believe that drugs were responsible for his heart failure.
While it looked as if Little Feat would die with its talisman, the group reformed in 1987, and released Let It Roll (Warner Brothers, 1988) with Craig Fuller taking lead vocal duties. The Pure Prairie League frontman led the group for five productive years, until he left to spend more time with his family. Determined to press on, the group hired Shaun Murphy, who had sang backup with Bob Seger (among others), and she has been their lead singer ever since. Though some fans were put off at the prospect of Little Feat having a female singer, her powerful, versatile voice has ingratiated her to both the fans and the critics. They continue to release albums, tour, and spread their message to people worldwide.