Edward Lawrence "Larry" Rogers, the former guitarist and backup singer for The Melody Makers, died April 28 at his home in Beaufort. He was 72.
Rogers was a founding member of The Melody Makers, the 1960s beach band that originated in Beaufort. Rogers played in the band from its formation in 1960 until his retirement in 1994.
John Burbage, the drummer for The Countdowns, another band that originated in Beaufort around the same time as the Melody Makers, called Rogers "an artist with an athlete's drive and an engineer's mind."
"He enjoyed figuring things out," he said, "whether it be notes on a scale, moves of a karate champion or the electronics of a guitar amp. ... In his youth, Larry lived in Beaufort on Ribaut Road overlooking the bay, later earned a black belt in karate, and was a friend and inspiration to thousands of young folks who grew up in the Lowcountry during the 1960s and '70s."
Eddie Taylor, lead singer of the Joshua Foxx band, met Rogers for the first time in the early 1970s.
"He was a good, close friend of mine," Taylor said, "and he was an iconic figure down here. The Melody Makers were the band of the Lowcountry back in the 1960s."
A cause of death has yet to be determined, but band leader Fred Gauch said Rogers had a series of medical problems in recent years. Funeral arrangements are pending.
In addition to his career with The Melody Makers, Rogers operated a local karate school in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to Gauch.
Rogers was preceded in death by his parents and fellow Melody Makers founding members O'Neal Clamp, Ron Nobles and Gerald Polk.