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Celebrity Deathwatch: Stan Penridge, Musician/Songwriter, 50


Musician/songwriter Stan "Doc" Penridge Dead at 50

Stan “Doc” Penridge, musician, producer and co-writer of several songs for
the rock band KISS, including their top-ten single “Beth”, died in his sleep
May 11 at his home in Austin, Texas. He was 50 years old.

Penridge began his musical career upon moving to the New York area in the
late 1960s. In 1970, he joined the band Chelsea, which featured a drummer
who was already going by the stage name Peter Criss. Penridge and Criss
continued working together, in Chelsea and other musical groups, until 1972
when Criss joined Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in a band that would evolve
into KISS.

Penridge moved on to work with other bands, both rock and country, but was
invited into the KISS circle when the band decided to record a song he and
Criss had written back in their Chelsea days. As Penridge related later, the
ballad had originally been written as a joke about another band member’s
wife named Becky, who would continuously interrupt band practices with
requests for her husband to come home. In 1976, Penridge, Criss and producer
Bob Ezrin rewrote the song as the sentimental ballad “Beth”, which is still
heard today on many radio stations. It appeared on the DESTROYER album and
became a Top-Ten hit, helping propel the band beyond cult status with
hard-rock fans to the mainstream of public consciousness.

Penridge continued to write for KISS throughout the 1970s, including most of
the songs on Peter Criss’ 1978 solo album. After Criss left the band in
1980, Penridge worked with Criss on his first post-KISS solo album, OUT OF
CONTROL. The next couple of years saw Criss and Penridge working on
different projects, but they re-teamed in 1983 to create a touring band
called the Criss-Penridge Alliance. The Alliance lasted until late 1984,
when Penridge and Criss again decided to go their separate ways.

After the breakup, Penridge moved to Texas and became an independent
musician/producer for acts in the Austin, Texas, area, concentrating mainly
on Jazz and Country acts. He also continued to work on his own recordings
and was finishing work on a solo album at the time of his death.

Penridge leaves behind his wife Nell on the eve of their 30th wedding
anniversary and his son, Jesse, along with other family members and friends.

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