24 September 1952
Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
3 July 1999 (aged 46)
Mark Sandman (September 24, 1952 – July 3, 1999) was an American singer, songwriter, musical instrument inventor and multi-instrumentalist. An indie rock icon and longtime fixture on the Boston music scene, Sandman was best known as the lead singer and slide bass player of the band Morphine.
Sandman was also known as a prominent member of the Boston blues band Treat Her Right and the founder of Hi-n-Dry, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based recording studio and independent record label.
Sandman was born into a Jewish American family in Newton, Massachusetts. He graduated from college but worked a variety of blue-collar jobs, including construction, taxi driving, and commercial fishing. Sandman once noted he would often earn considerable overtime pay, which allowed him to take leave of work and travel outside of New England to places such as rural Colorado – the setting for a number of Treat Her Right and Morphine songs, including "Thursday", "The Jury", and "I Think She Likes Me".
Along with Morphine, which he formed in 1989, Sandman was also a member of the bands Sandman, Candy Bar, the Hypnosonics, Supergroup (with Chris Ballew), and the Pale Brothers. He also performed as a guest with the Boston jazz band Either/Orchestra.
On July 3, 1999, Sandman collapsed on stage at the Giardini del Principe in Palestrina, Latium, Italy (near Rome) while performing with Morphine. He was soon pronounced dead of a heart attack at the age of 46. Sandman was survived by his girlfriend Sabine Hrechdakian, his parents Bob and Tel Sandman, and his sister Martha Holmes. Morphine immediately disbanded following his death, though the surviving members briefly toured with other musicians, creating Orchestra Morphine as a tribute to Sandman and the band's music.
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