Blue Cheer's Dickie Peterson, 1946-2009

| October 14, 2009

Dickie Peterson, founding member of the hard rock band Blue Cheer, died Monday in Erkelenz, Germany. The 63-year-old singer and bassist had been battling liver cancer.

Coming out of San Francisco in the late ’60s, Blue Cheer took the flower-power psychedelia of bands like Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead and gave it a harder edge, crafting a sound that would later be echoed in punk rock and heavy metal.

As bassist and singer, Peterson poured his heart and soul into the band, a blues-rooted power trio in the vein of Cream and Mountain. The band’s 1968 debut Vincebus Eruptum contained its biggest hit, a remake of the Eddie Cochran song “Summertime Blues.” Blue Cheer dissolved in 1972, but Peterson revived the rock troupe in 1984, and later recorded two solo albums.

Until being overtaken by the Who in 1976, Blue Cheer was listed as the “Loudest Band in the World” by the Guinness Book of World Records. In a video interview at, Peterson described how the high amplitude and low frequencies of his bass playing led to calluses forming on his eardrums. Take that, heavy-metal poseurs! --Brian Fox

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