Former Classics IV singer Dennis Yost dies at 65

December 9, 2008


LISA CORNWELL, Associated Press Writer
Mon Dec 8, 11:30 pm ET

CINCINNATI – Dennis Yost, lead singer of the 1960s group the Classics IV, has died in an Ohio hospital. He was 65.

Yost died Sunday at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Hamilton, about 30 miles northwest of Cincinnati. He died of respiratory failure, hospital spokeswoman Marielou Vierling said.

The Classics IV’s hits included “Spooky,” “Stormy” and “Traces of Love.”

Yost had been in nursing homes since suffering a brain injury sustained in a 2005 fall, said Joe Glickman, the singer’s friend and biographer .

“I’m still in shock because he was fine Saturday morning,” said his wife, Linda Yost, of suburban Hamilton. “And by, you know, early Sunday morning he was gone.”

The Classics IV got their start in Jacksonville, Fla., where Yost, a native of Detroit, was raised, Glickman said. Their hit recordings were produced in Atlanta under the supervision of producer Buddy Buie and Bill Lowery, founder of Lowery Music Inc.

The group performed together for about five years.

Buie, who was a co-writer of the group’s songs with the group’s guitarist, J.R. Cobb, said: “Dennis had an incredible voice — just a great voice for love songs.”

The 67-year-old Buie, who’s retired and living in Eufaula, Ala., added: “I am deeply saddened by his passing.”

Cobb, 65, said he and Yost grew up in Jacksonville and rode motorcycles together before they were in the band. Cobb, who later performed with the Atlanta Rhythm Section and with the Highwaymen — a country group that included Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson — is retired and lives in Monticello, Ga.

“Dennis was a friend as well as a fellow musician,” said Cobb. “I always thought he had a very distinctive voice, and I think we had some of the hits we had because of him and his ability as a singer.”

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a vocalist with the former rock and comedy group Sha Na Na, held a benefit concert last year to help with Yost’s increasing medical costs, Glickman said.

“He was a tremendous talent who did an enormous amount of the work for that group,” said Bauman, who works against copycat performers as chairman of Truth in Music, based at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame Foundation in Sharon, Pa.

“Paradoxically, I came to know Dennis better in the later years, in which he was involved in a massive struggle to retain his own musical identity, which was one of the saddest and most difficult cases of someone losing the name of their own group, when he had pretty much been the group,” Bauman said.

Bauman said truth in music legislation has been adopted in 26 states, and a bill was expected to make it through the legislature and to the governor’s desk next week in Yost’s home state of Ohio.

Yost is survived by his wife and five children. A memorial service is planned for this weekend, Linda Yost said.

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dennis will be missed greatly!! February 4, 2009 at 2:13 pm

I listened to all of Dennis Yost & The Classics IV music when I was a teenager. Those were very sweet memories of love and innocence. Dennis you will be greatly missed……I will see you in heaven someday.
Curtis Hinton Jr.


2 Kay February 17, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I’m 25. And I love oldies. Classics IV are one of my favorites groups. “Spooky” is my favorite Classics IV song. You will forever be remembered and missed, Dennis. Now I must dedicate “Stormy” to you. : ( I love you.


3 leland ellerman May 26, 2009 at 9:14 pm

i was pulling up the song stormy on my computer and just learned of dennis’s passing. as we loose more and more of these great artist it sadden’s me deeply because there will never be another dennis or the classics 4. such a tragedy! my thoughts and prayers are with the family, and may his music and his legacy live on forever.


4 Linda Yost July 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Dennis’ last wishes were to keep his music going and to help people with Severe Brain Trauma. He hand picked the group “The Classics IV” and everytime they perform they donate a portion to his foundation The Dennis Yost SBT Foundation “Awakening”. So the music and Dennis’ legacy will continue on.


5 SonDan July 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Hello Linda,

I was so surprise to find your worthy comment after returning from vacation. Thanks for the information on “The Classics IV” and please feel free to keep us abreast of the “Awakening” Foundation. Be Blessed dear lady.



6 H Davis July 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm

I met Dennis once. He was as fine a gentleman as ever there was, especially to have been such a big star. He took time to talk to me and answer my questions about how to advance my own songwriting career. He was genuine!

I was floored to learn he had passed away. He was a blessing to this world.


7 Manuel August 1, 2009 at 7:36 pm

Wow, I was downloading sweet love songsfrom the 60′s and just saw that Dennis Yost passed away last year. That was and is my generation! The sounds and music of the 60′s will never be back but, it’ll also never be forgotten! One reason is because of the artists such as Dennis and the classics IV! Many loving memories…. They will always be as fresh as a warm summer night! Rest in peace Dennis


8 DAVID JORDAN August 24, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I met Dennis in Jackson Mississippi at the state fair.
He was there playing with a bunch of old sixties groups. It was titled 30 years of rock and roll. Anyway after the show was over i saw him out in the midway and I talked to him about 10 minutes. I told him that change of heart was my favorite classic iv song. He was extremely cordial, he also told me that he didn’t have the rights to his own music. I felt he was extremely sad about this and I will never forget the sadness that came from his eyes about this. Dennis you were a classic and you will be missed dearly.


9 Johnny betz October 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm

I will be 60 in January. Traces is a song that hit my heart the first and every time I hear it. It became a part of my life then as it is a strong part of my memories now. When I hear that song I am taken back and can feel the emotions I felt then.That is because of Mr. Yost’s phenomonal voice. Such controlled emotion in that voice. No one will ever come close to him in that way. I just found out yesterday that he was gone. It’s sad to know that he suffered like he did. I can only hope his wife and children are well and carrying on. My deepest condolences and best wishes to his family. Dennis Yost is alive and in the heart of this old fan.


10 SonDan October 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm

I am honored that you chose to share those beautiful sentiments here at OSML. Also thanks for the mention of “Traces.” It is indeed one of many classic performances by Mr. Yost that will ensure that his musical legacy lasts forever.


11 Scooter May 13, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Dennis will be missed by all of us that grew up in those great years of ” Great ” music.


12 SonDan May 13, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Glad to meet you Scooter and thank you for your contribution here at OSML. Please don’t be a stranger sir.


13 al May 29, 2010 at 9:36 pm

another great voice gone….along with buddy holly,roy orbison,bobby fuller,gene pitney,del shannon….and these guys all died young…a tragedy.


14 Jerry Cotten August 5, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I have seen just about every big name singer or band that came to west Texas in the late 50′s and 60′s except the Classics Four who I don’t beleive ever played Lubbock or Odessa or I would have been there!!! Dennis Yost singing “Spooky” is my all-time favorite song and I still have the album (for you young people-that’s an extra large CD). I was just telling a friend the other day that I was going to look on the internet and see if Dennis Yost was still singing and I was shocked to learn of his death almost 2 years ago!!! Would have liked to have heard him in person!!!


15 Ray Witt March 6, 2011 at 3:57 am

I think the Classics IV had A UNIQUE STYLE IN THEIR SOUND. IT WSS A SOUND “OF ITS OWN”and I feel few to no-one can copy. It has a sound I love to hum…or want to try & duplicate but you cannot….so the hits he sang just will remain in your mind forever. .& will always be my most memorable oldies GROUP. .


16 al March 11, 2011 at 5:37 am

listen to sentimental lady…greatest song of all time…still brings tears to my eyes…..and for some reason the best songs ever are never the big hits…….incredible loss young


17 Norm Russell April 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

In the late 1960′s and early 1970′s I was living on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. There was a radio station at the time in San Juan, Puerto Rico called W.B.M.J. 1190 AM. It was then owned by Bob Hope and the format was Top 40 then. Today, it is a religious station. Back in those days however W.B.M.J. was (in my opinion) the best radio station on earth. It was better than W.A.B.C. in New York. W.B.M.J. had the same jingle package from Pepper Tanner at the time but the station has a sound unlike any other radio station of the time. There has never been a station like it either before or since. My point is that Dennis Yost and the Classics IV were aired on that station from around 1968 onward for quite some time. They helped to make W.B.M.J. have that sound… a very distinctive sound like no other station. For one thing… they used just a little bit of reverb in their broadcast and… they adapted the turnstyle on their turntables to play the records just a hair faster than 45 rpm. Those two things along with the professionalism of the on-air guys and the jingle package gave that station a sound all its own. It was a great time and even though I lived on St. Croix (100 miles to the south east) the signal came in very clearly. I recorded some of the on-air broadcasts from that time on my old AKAI reel to reel machine and still have them today. Then in 1969 I was offered a job at an easy listening FM station on St. Croix and took it. Worked there for a year then moved over to a Top 40 AM (W.S.T.X.) on St. Croix and worked there for three years before moving to Miami, Florida. During my stint at W.S.T.X. however I did my interpretation of the W.B.M.J. format on W.S.T.X. and made that station sound great! I used to get calls from the then owner Mrs. Carpenter at night telling me how she loved what I was doing to make the station sound so good. Then after a time The Program Director of W.B.M.J. moved to St. Croix and became the P.D. of our station W.S.T.X. we hit it off and became friends right away. But the bottom line for me is… whenever I hear a song by Dennis Yost I cannot help but to think of W.B.M.J. Those call letters were a great selection too… they sounded friendly and yet the letters had weight to them that subliminally commanded respect somehow. What great memories of a great radio station and… a truly great and outstanding talent in the beautiful voice of Dennis Yost. I am truly… his number one fan. Thanks for your time. Norm.


18 John Weeks July 30, 2011 at 7:48 pm

This is late,and I’m sorry I had no Idea Dennis had passed away,it’s heart breaking. I met Dennis at I believe was Lyra song studio back when Spooky was the big hit,and then again in my home town of Spartanburg SC when they performed there. I played in a band that did about 50% Classic IV music. His Classic IV voice will be missed.


19 sondan May 28, 2009 at 7:58 pm

What you say is so true Leland and all the more reason to cherish the wonderful music these greats have left behind. There will never be another set of innovative musicians like we had in the late fifties through the entire Sixties IMHO.


20 sondan July 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

Wow. I am honored that you shared details of your meeting with Mr. Yost here. Thank you Harley.


21 sondan August 1, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Very well said Manuel. Welcome to OSML and thank you for your comment. It is unfortunate though that we meet under this circumstance. I am glad you found my blog and hope that you to continue to allow me to inform and entertain you musically.


22 sondan August 25, 2009 at 10:21 am

Wow. Thanks for sharing that here at OSML David. Artists having their just reward for their creativity is no joke! It should be a mandatory thing but unfortunately the music business is cruel and cutthroat.
I am so glad you got to tell Dennis how you felt about his artistic creation: I am sure that meant a lot to him.
BTW that sixties concert sounds like it was awesome. Who else was on the bill?


23 DAVID JORDAN August 26, 2009 at 10:17 am

It was a great show which included gary lewis and the playboys. Gary Pucket, Mitch Ryder, Pat Upton lead singer for Spiral Starecase, Fith Dimension. I,M leaving sombody out for this was about 20 years ago.

THe show was under a big tent and was open to the public for free. Unbelievable dont you think. all that musical talent for free.


24 sondan August 26, 2009 at 11:26 am

That is a remarkable talent line-up for free! Ahh the good old days! Nice show!
Now I stick to dvd concerts since I refuse to pay $200. or more just for a nosebleed seat to see some no talent singer that I won’t be able to hear or see due to the screaming stand-up gen x crowd ;-)

Thanks for sharing!


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