60s songwriter Erik Darling dies at 74

Erik Darling (September 25, 1933 – August 3, 2008) was an American songwriter and a folk music artist. He was an important influence on the folk scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

He was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Inspired by the folk music group The Weavers, in the ’50s, he formed The Tunetellers, later called The Tarriers with actor/singer Alan Arkin. Their version of the "Banana Boat Song" reached #4 on the Billboard charts.

Darling left that group to replace Pete Seeger in The Weavers, staying with them from 1958 through 1962. He then formed The Rooftop Singers, who had a number one single with the song "Walk Right In", and his solo album True Religion for Vanguard was influential on younger folkies of the day. In 1967, Darling and Paul Bennett were co-credited for writing the song "Babe I’m Gonna Leave You," by Quicksilver Messenger Service, which appears to be a medley of Darling’s 1958 song "St. John’s River" and Joan Baez’s "Babe I’m Gonna Leave You".

He died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina from lymphoma. He was 74.