Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Remembering Ian Whitcomb, Who Always Had a Ukelele

A vintage album cover. (Courtesy of John Rabe)
Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

We're remembering Ian Whitcomb, who died April 19 of complications from a stroke he suffered in 2012.

Whitcomb, who reached No. 8 on the charts in 1965 with the song, "You Turn Me On," played the tunes he loved on "The Ian Whitcomb Show" on KPCC in the 1990s, when it was an eclectic music station. (The show was previously on KROQ and KCRW.)

He never did become a pop star, but he did go on to have a varied career that included writing a number of books on music. In 2012, he told me in an interview:

"I always had a ukulele. I used to take the ukulele on the bus, on these tours. Then, one day, a group called The Turtles, who were on tour with me, said, 'Ian, those songs that you sing are really funny, why don't you record them?' So I did, I went in and recorded 'Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go,' and I've been recording that kind of song ever since, and so my career has gone backwards."

Support for LAist comes from


Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.