March 22, 2005 by

Danny Joe Brown


Categories: Musicians

Danny Joe Brown, the original lead singer of the Southern rock band Molly Hatchet, died on March 10 of renal failure and pneumonia. He was 53.

The Jacksonville, Fla., native graduated from high school, spent two years in the U.S. Coast Guard then made a living as an insurance salesman. His passion, however, was music and in 1974, he joined Molly Hatchet, a hard-rockin’ six-piece band that was named after a 17th century prostitute who allegedly beheaded and mutilated her clients.

Brown served as the frontman and lone vocalist for the group, and lent his deep, gravelly voice to the songs “Dreams I’ll Never See” and “Gator Country.” Molly Hatchet’s self-titled debut went platinum in 1978. A year later, the band released its sophomore effort, “Flirtin’ With Disaster,” which sold over 2 million copies.

Citing diabetes and exhaustion from constant touring and partying, Brown left the band in 1980. He created a short-lived side project — The Danny Joe Brown Band — before rejoining Molly Hatchet in 1982 to record the albums “No Guts…No Glory” and “The Deed Is Done.”

Molly Hatchet disbanded several times in the 1980s, but reunited for a reunion tour in 1996. When Brown’s diabetes worsened, vocalist Phil McCormack replaced him. His musical career ended in 1998 after he suffered a debilitating stroke.

Molly Hatchet Download MP3s by Molly Hatchet

18 Responses to Danny Joe Brown

  1. bobbyj

    The real deal. No doubt. One of a kind signature
    voice that defined American hard rock just before
    that damn MTV changed everything forever. Maybe,if you do not mind, you will give me a private jam in the next life. God Bless

  2. JeffreyWietzel

    Danny Joe Brown, Molly Hatchet, my two favorite names. My favorite singing voice, Hatchet contributed so much to music!!! What happened is a terrible shame. Every time I hear Stone In Your Heart I nearly cry, Thanks Molly Hatchet and Danny Joe!!!!

  3. KIM

    Got to meet Danny Joe in 1993 and 1996. We danced a boogie. I’ll never forget his warmth and that incredible voice. What a true southern gentleman and one hell of a rocker. Thanks for the kiss baby. I’ll never forget you.

  4. JDW

    First and last time I ever drank Wild Turkey was in 1979 with Danny Joe Brown. I was writing an entertainment piece for my high school newspaper. He was kind enough to grant an interview after the show and was as hospitable and warm as any entertainer I have ever met. Thank you for the memory Danny Joe.

  5. TJL-

    Here’s the story… There were 4 of us guys at a carnival in Rosemont, IL (outside Chicago). We came to see a Rock-n-roll experience- the magic of Molly Hatchet. Hatchet, was due to come on at 8PM– then the rain started pouring down. We didn’t leave as 1/2 the crowd did. Coming from somewhere in Indiana was the bus carrying Molly Hatchet… we were told by roadies from the stage.
    Then, at about 9:45 a bus appeared through the parking lot. It was THEM! I couldn’t believe they made the date. They drove through a major downpour to rock their fans!!! As the band made the stage, we thought we would see either Danny Joe, or Phil McCormack on vocals. (Danny was on & off with the band then) Then through the P.A. system comes this “who came here to rock-n-roll? “Fu** the rain, thanks for stayin”. it was Danny Joe- opening up with Gator Country!!!
    We were floored!!! They jammed everything in their line-up. They Played form 10- 12:30 or so. It was an incredible show- I still remember to this day.
    What a class act Danny Joe was- good to his fans, a memarkable voice; he was the real deal!!!
    (sorry for the length- just wanted to share)
    You are missed. R.I.P.- Danny Joe.

  6. Beth Byroads

    I met the band at a little restaurant in Delevan N.Y. on Christmas Eve 1990. Danny walked through the door first and I about died! I was their waitress!! I sat on his lap as he signed his name to the placemat! Wow!! The rest of the band signed it too and I have bragged about it for years! It still hangs on my wall and reminds me of the days when Molly Hatchet rocked!! It will be a memory that I will hold in my heart forever. Rest in Peace Danny, you are still loved! Beth

  7. mark

    I saw Hatchet in a little bar in Asheville NC. It wasn’t advertised but we were just going to drinks some beers. This band starts to take the stage and me and my buddy Al hear Bounty Hunter coming through the speakers and i’m like what the fu**? I look up at the stage and it’s Danny Joe I knew the face instantly I’d seen them like three times in concert and one I was at the stage. They finshed a set and just hung out drinkng and talking to everybody. It was unreal they were just like regular guys.
    Peace DJB

  8. Cork

    Hell yeah Danny Joe!!
    Met you many, many times when I was in the service stationed in Georgia. You were never to far away then, and everytime I crank some Molly Hatchet or the Danny Joe Brown Band album, you’re here again!!
    R.I.P. bro.
    You ARE the man!!

  9. Cork

    Most of my memories of Molly Hatchet are with DJB on vocals. Have seen the band 48 times now. Most of those times were between 1977-1981 with 77-79 being the most often, while I was stationed in Georgia in the Army.
    I used to go where ever they played at in and around Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina.
    My all time favorite rock & roll band of all time, whether southern rock or not.
    R.I.P. DJB

  10. Pinky

    I managed several concert halls in the 80’s I was good friends with 2 of his road crew. Once I met Danny, we became friend that lasted until his passing. We partied in many cities, from NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore, Richmond, etc. I had many connections to the band, one of my friends married a band member and another married one of the crew. RIP Danny!

  11. Anita Kettlehake

    I had seen Molly Hatchet twice in the past but, my most favorite time was when Danny returned to the group and a friend of mine and me held up signs that said “Welcome Back, Danny Joe!” He saw the signs while standing at the side of the stage while Fog Hat was playing. He made his way over to us, by crawling through the fronts of the speakers, and gave us both a kiss on the cheek and said, “Thank you”. I will never forget that day as long as I live! It was awesome! Rock on in Heaven Danny!

  12. cswilson

    Saw them in 1992* MH booked the wkend for a month at the Arosavilla in Cols,Ohio* never missed a show of them..Listen&Download alot of their music today* Amany memories of this Southern Rock Band* RIP DJB

  13. Joe Hassell

    Molly Hatchet was my most favorite band as a teenager in North Carolina, from 1978 onward. I had a couple of their vinyl albums and I cranked my car radio whenever the local radio station played their hits. I had never gotten the chance to see them in concert until that one weekend in 1983 (84?). I was on weekend Navy Liberty from the USS Yellowstone in port at Norfolk, Virginia, just cruising around in my Malibu SS listening to the local rock radio station, when out of the blue the DJ announced an impromptu Molly Hatchet concert would be held that evening at a dirt motorcycle race track about 20 miles north of Hampton Roads, Virginia. No tickets would be issued. Pay cash at the gate $20 per person. When I finally found the place, the sun was setting and there were motorcycles everywhere and everyone was wearing black leather (I had mine, too). Seems like the place could only handle 1,000 people and it was packed with nearly twice as many. The band set-up on a tiny stage against the outside of the racetrack viewing stands and had installed a 20 foot tall chain link fence in front of the stage because they knew this would be one hell of a wild party. Not a single cop was there and everybody was smoking grass and drinking whiskey on the yard, and the nearby woods were full of tents and campfires, biker chicks and Harleys all night long. Danny Joe sang every song I knew, and towards the end we all cheered when a couple of huge bikers tried to climb the stage fence but got shaken off by stage hands before they topped it. Hope those dudes survived their fall. It was full throttle and loud enough to rattle yer teeth, way out in the boondocks. If anybody here remembers where that was, or was there, please say so here. Where was that ? Everybody who didn’t leave after around midnight was allowed to stay and camp on the property. About then I decided to try to find my way backstage to meet the band. I wound-up lost on bike trails in the woods, meeting good folks and having fun, but finally found a small group of about 8 ladies and 4 guys hanging around outside the tour bus about 3AM. We waited till nearly dawn when suddenly Danny Joe just stepped off his bus with a big ole grin and started signing autographs. I was just standing there in shock, when I realized Danny Joe had slung his huge left arm around my neck and over my shoulder, bowed his head and said: “Let’s Pray”. So we all got quiet real quick, arm in arm like that, and he prayed: “Dear God, please keep us all safe from the drunk drivers tonight. Amen.” Then he just turned and jumped on his bus and split. I couldn’t even speak. All I could think was… That DID NOT just happen! Such a down-to-Earth real man’s man. Thank you for the BEST rock concert of my life, Danny Joe. Rest in Peace, man. Thank you for your service in the Coast Guard. I have a big hug waiting for you when I get to Heaven.

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