John “Juke” Logan, 66, a Los Angeles-based blues harmonica player whose wailing melodies can be picked out of the theme music for the 1990s TV sitcoms “Roseanne” and “Home Improvement,” died Aug. 30 at his home in Joshua Tree.
The cause was complications of esophageal cancer, said longtime friend Dan Duehren, co-founder of California Vintage Guitar and Amp in Sherman Oaks.
An animated showman, singer and bandleader, Logan earned a reputation as a go-to harmonica player for jingles, soundtracks and other recording sessions.
In addition to television shows, Logan’s work appeared in films, including “Crossroads,” “La Bamba” and “Streets of Fire,” and on commercials, from Jack-in-the-Box to cherry Coca-Cola. He also served as a music consultant for the 1999 animated film “The Iron Giant.”
He played with a number of recording artists, including Ry Cooder, Leon Russell, Dave Alvin, Albert Collins, Big Joe Turner and John Lee Hooker. As a composer, Logan also wrote songs for John Mayall, Poco and others.
Logan’s first solo album, “The Chill,” was released in 1995. He went on to record four more albums on his label, Mocombo Records.
John Farrell Logan was born Sept. 11, 1946, in downtown Los Angeles. Growing up in North Hollywood, Logan fell in love with Chicago-style blues and the soulful harmonica stylings of James Cotton and Little Walter.
His incessant rehearsals of the Little Walter track “Juke” led to a nickname that stuck for life.
He graduated from USC with a business degree but set his sights on a career in music, forming Los Angeles-based bands in the 1970s and '80s such as the Juke Rhythm Band and the Angel City Rhythm Band.
Between 1992 and 2000, Logan co-hosted with Ellen Bloom a two-hour radio show on KPCC-FM (89.3) called “The Friday Night Blues Revue,” picking out a mix of blues music and bringing on musicians as guests.
He was first diagnosed with esophageal cancer in 2009 and underwent surgery to treat it. The cancer returned starting in 2011.
In April, members of the Southern California blues and roots communities gathered at Café Fais Do Do in Los Angeles for a benefit concert to salute Logan and raise money for the American Institute for Cancer Research.
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