Tommy Caldwell, although few years younger than his brother Toy, beside playing bass and singing backup vocals, was the leader of The Marshall Tucker Band and charismatic front man who worked the audience at live shows.
The Caldwell brothers, fortunate enough to have a father who was a professional musician himself, were introduced to music early in their lives and Tommy picked up the bass when he was 12, old Kay hollowbody with single cutaway.
Tommy Caldwell was performing with different bands all his life and after returning home from military service in 1970 Tommy’s old friends from Spartanburg, Doug Gray, Jerry Eubanks, George McCorkle, Paul Riddle and of course his brother Toy Caldwell formed The Marshall Tucker Band.
Wet Willie shared the bill with The Marshall Tucker Band one night, were impressed of what they heard and introduced the band to Capricorn Record President Phil Walden. Capricorn Records signed them and it started a collaboration, which produced multiple gold records and sold out arenas and stadiums across the world. Until…
Death of Tommy Caldwell
On April 22, 1980, Tommy Caldwell was heading for local YMCA on Church Street, downtown Spartanburg, in his off-road jeep, when Ford galaxy driving in front of him braked suddenly, two cars collided and Tommy’s car flipped over on impact. Caldwell was rushed into a hospital with severe head injuries and he died week later in Spartanburg General Hospital on April 28. He was only 30 years old at the time of his death.
Tommy’s last live performance, recorded only two days before his accident, was released as double CD, Live On Long Island in 2006.
Tommy Caldwell November 9, 1949 – April 28 1980