I heard “Heard It in a Love Song” last night and I realized I knew absolutely nothing about the band.

First, there was no Marshall Tucker in the band.  Apparently Mr. Tucker was a piano tuner down there in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where the band was from, and his name came up by happenstance as they were trying to come up with a band name (he owned the building the band was practicing in, and they saw his name on the key ring and adopted it, not knowing it was a real person).

The lead singer and guitar player was a guy named Toy Caldwell, and his little brother Tommy, the bass player, was a fellow founding band member and was considered its leader.  Both were ex-Marines, Toy a Purple Heart Vietnam vet.

Tragically, Tommy was killed in a car accident in 1980.

The band was never the same.  It continued for another few years, but broke up in 1983.  (It was re-formed in 1988, but without Toy Caldwell, and it never had significant commercial success again.  A modern lineup continues to play shows regularly today, with just a single original member.)

Toy had another little brother, Tim, who was also killed in a car accident, this one in 1993.  A month afterward, Toy died of heart failure attributed to cocaine use.

A very sad story behind a name almost everybody knows.  Rest well and Semper Fi, Marines.