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Bruce Arnold Death: Founder Of The Soft Rock Band Orpheus Dies Aged 76

The singer of the soft-rock band Orpheus and the chief songwriter Bruce Arnold died at the age of 76. Mr. Arnold was only pronounced dead and his family revealed no cause of death or date. 

His wife, Judy Arnold, 82, dubbed her husband as an “extraordinary soul.” She also said that he was “blessed throughout his life” and the love he carried for his family and friends was “inspiring” as well.

“Although he has gone to live with his heavenly father, his soothing voice will live on through the music he made,” she added. 

Bruce Arnold

Meanwhile, Bruce Arnold son, John Mark, 47,  said he was very proud of his father and whatever he achieved during his entire lifetime. He continued, “Everything you created continues to make me wonder and I am honored to further his legacy.  

Born in Worcester, Massachusetts, Arnold was the youngest son of Lester Raymond Arnold and ULa Scribner Hanny. Before graduating from Classical High School, he focused on his unmatched passion for music by performing with his folk group, the Villagers.

After 3 years of graduation, in 1967, Arnold founded Orpheus. In the next 4 years, the group successfully recorded six singles and four albums for Bell Records and MGM. The singles included“Can’t Find the Time,” which peaked at #no 80 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Eventually, the group garnered traction by performing with many top acts including Led Zeppelin, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Cream, Who, and Janis Joplin. 

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In 2012, Bruce Arnold said in an interview with the Marin Independent Journal, “We were right amidst that. But Orpheus didn’t sound like the music being created by hip groups,” he added, “We were off on our own tangent.”

To the same Marin Independent Journal, actor Chuck Norris gave a statement on Arnold’s passing. 

From 1975 to 1987, Bruce Arnold was also a pastor at a Church at the Open Door congregation in Point Reyes Station. “His God-given talents of singing, writing, and playing the guitar were only matched by his ability to share the gospel of Christ. We will cherish our memories and know his family will carry his message and music.”

Founder of the Church in San Rafael, Ken Philpott said Arnold was often ordained in his Church. They met at the All Saints Episcopal Church and Philpott even mentioned Arnold as someone who was highly motivated by his faith.

“Despite having rough spots in our lives, Arnold always remained strong. He remained a friend and whenever we happened to meet each other, we always ended up glad to see each other.”

In more than 50 years, the first Orpheus album was under development at the time of death. At the time, the band consisted of Hersh, keyboardist Elliot Sherman, drummer Bernard Purdie, trumpeter Tiger Okoshi and John Mark Arnold. The family announced the updates of the records were forthcoming. 

Bruce Arnold

Bassist Howie Hersh, a bandmate, recalled meeting Arnold for the first time after a show at the University of Massachusetts. Hersh also said that Bruce Arnold was drawn to the music after the show. He took a guitar and started playing chords to the songs. 

In Arnold’s later years, he bought the old band back together and also recorded solo records. 

But then, Bruce Arnold apparently asked, “How do you know all the chords?” To the question, the then 19-year-old Hersh answered, “I’ve got good ears.”

Bruce Arnold left for Marin County in 1972 and got married in 1974. John Mark Arnold revealed his dad often recalled going to Massachusetts in his Volkswagen bus and reaching Marin to see the buds on the trees. 

“Dad often recounted and said to himself, ‘Where have I been living all this time?’”

John Mark further added that his father initially loved Marin for its climate. “The fact that it was like home to the musicians and minded artists was the icing on the cake. Whether he was working on his work, spreading the gospel, supporting my mother(his wife) in her political career, and creating new model cars, he was always passionate.”

In addition to John Mark Arnold, and Judy Arnold, Arnold is survived by his other sons Grey Ainsworth, and Oliver Arnold; daughters Erin Fish and Laura Ainsworth; his brother Les Arnold Junior. 

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