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'Lake Shore Drive' Writer Dead, Ashes May Be Spread on The Famed Road

By DNAinfo Staff | October 5, 2017 8:48am | Updated on October 5, 2017 12:40pm
 Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah
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CHICAGO — Skip Haynes, a member of the band Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah which produced the local favorite song "Lake Shore Drive," has died, a spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

WBBM radio Thursday reported "that there's talk of" the musician's ashes being spread on Lake Shore Drive. Dana Walden, a business partner of Haynes, told the station, "I don't know if it's appropriate that we say anything about that."

Haynes, 70, penned the iconic homage to Chicago’s lakefront highway in 1971 and was a long time resident of Los Angeles, continuing to record independently.

"The song is about a Friday night cruise from the clubs on State street (Beaver's to be exact) shooting the loop at Foster and returning to Beaver's just in time for the second show to begin. That is the gist of it. Drugs (not LSD) were involved," he once said in an interview.

Writing in the Reader in 1992, Jeffrey Felshman, an old family friend, said while the song isn't about drugs, for a time Haynes "lived the rock-and-roll life-style; writing and singing about getting high, he usually was high when he wrote and sang about getting high."

Haynes later wrote a book about getting off drugs, Felshman said.

"The band had already been playing clubs in Chicago for a couple of years when Skip wrote 'Lake Shore Drive,' according to Feldman. "It was after a 4 a.m. ride with Arthur Belkind, the group's manager. Skip wrote down their conversation, set it to music, and played it for Belkind over the phone the following day."

"Skip liked it all right, but Belkind was ecstatic. He heard Hit. He borrowed some money to pay for studio time at 2120 S. Michigan. A record label in New York called Bang Records released it as a single, and it went nowhere."

A second version was recorded, this time backed with some members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and it became popular on local radio.

Writing for forgottenhits.com, Haynes said after his manager had dropped him off at his apartment that faced Lake Shore Drive (it was during a snow storm) he watched the roadway as the sun rose.

"One thing led to another and by the time I went to sleep I had written a song. I didn't particularly think anything of it. I wrote songs all the time. It was my job," he said. He was inspired by the Jerry Jeff Walker song "Mr. Bojangles" and America's "This Is For All The Lonely People."

Haynes didn't like it, at first, but local radio played it and Rose Records on State Street agreed to sell it. "I now have a great deal of respect for 'Lake Shore Drive' and all the people who made it possible," Haynes later said.

 Skip Haynes of Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah
Skip Haynes of Aliotta Haynes and Jeremiah
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The song pays homage to the lakefront highway, that "starts up north from Hollywood, water on the driving side."

Concrete mountains rearing up, throwing shadows just about five
Sometimes you can smell the green if your mind is feeling fine
There ain't no finer place to be, than running Lake Shore Drive
And there's no peace of mind, or place you see, than riding on Lake Shore Drive

Read full lyrics here

He explained to Forgotten Hits some of the references:

• The "Pretty blue lights" were Chicago police Mars lights.

• "Concrete mountains" were all the buildings along the drive. 

• "Throwing shadows just about five" refered to the fact that at about five o'clock the sun is low enough in the west so the buildings cast their shadows across Lake Shore Dive. Very pretty.

• "Rats on up to riches" denoted driving from the south side to the north side. I was a northsider so I usually was "runnin' south on LSD" looking for a good time. 

• "It starts up north on Hollywood" refers to Hollywood [Ave.] at the northern terminus of LSD.

• LSD is not a referral to the drug. It's about the initials of Lake Shore Drive. In the sixties it was really cool to live on Lake Shore Drive so you could put for example - 1200 LSD when addressing your mail. I didn't do acid.

In 2015, Haynes performed in Chicago for a PBS special "Cornerstones of Rock." Bassist Mitch Aliota died in 2015 and keyboardist John Jeremiah died in 2011.

Haynes, overwhelmed by the crowd's reactions, said, “The music sounds better than ever and this is the first time since 'Lake Shore Drive' was recorded that the iconic solo violin at the end is performed live. Mitch and John are definitely with us tonight!"

At the time of his death he was the owner of the Laurel Canyon Animal Co., which he described on Twitter as "the only record label in the world that creates music about, for and with animals. Sometimes we use psychics."

The song was included in the 2017 film "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."

In announcing his death, spokeswoman Teresa Todd called Haynes a "rock and roll marvel, animal lover. community activist and friend to so many of us."

"His legacy will live forever," she said.