17 March 1950
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, United States
19 August 2010 (aged 60)
Michael Been (March 17, 1950 – August 19, 2010) was an American rock musician who achieved critical attention and rotation play on MTV in the 1980s with his band The Call. He later released an album of his solo work and toured with his son's band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club . His song "Let the Day Begin" was the official campaign song of Al Gore's 2000 U.S. presidential campaign. His song "Oklahoma" was one of the top ten choices for Oklahoma's state song and a line from the song provided the name for "Another Hot Oklahoma Night: A Rock & Roll Exhibit" at the Oklahoma History Center.
Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Been formed his band The Call in the 1970s in Northern California with Tom Ferrier on guitar, bassist Greg Freeman and drummer Scott Musick. Motion Pictures aka the Call were discovered by Tulsa's Phil Symour. They released a self-titled album in 1982 with Mercury Records. The band's 1983 album Modern Romans led to a world tour opening for Peter Gabriel and featured the song "When the Walls Came Down" which achieved heavy rotation on MTV.
Been participated in composing and performing the music to Paul Schrader's 1992 film Light Sleeper. The film also features two of his songs, To Feel This Way and World On Fire. In 1994, he recorded a solo album, On the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough
Been appeared as a sideman in bands fronted by actor Harry Dean Stanton; Stanton having played harmonica on "Let The Day Begin" track "For Love". He played the apostle John in Martin Scorsese's 1988 feature film The Last Temptation of Christ and had some film credits.
Been's son, Robert Levon Been, is the frontman for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Michael Been was heavily involved in BRMC, as their sound engineer, and toured with them.
Been died at age 60 on August 19, 2010, in Hasselt, Belgium of a heart attack while at the Pukkelpop 2010 music festival in Hasselt, Belgium, where he was on tour as a sound man for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a band led by his son Robert Levon Been
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