Jeff LaBar, best known as the guitarist for Philadelphia area glam metal band Cinderella, has died. LaBar’s son, Sebastian, and his father, Bob, confirmed the news in separate social media posts today. “So i just got the call…” Sebastian wrote. “Jeff LaBar, my father, my hero, my idol, passed away today. I’m currently at a loss for words. I love you pop!” No cause of death for LaBar has been revealed. He was 58.
LaBar was born in Darby, Pennsylvania in 1963. In 1985 he joined Cinderella, replacing founding guitarist Michael Schermick, just as the band was signing to Mercury/Polygram. The following year’s debut album Night Songs made them burgeoning stars in the hair metal scene, spinning off hits like “Nobody’s Fool” and leading to tour dates with the likes of Poison, David Lee Roth, and Bon Jovi. The band’s sound, concisely summed up by Apple Music as “AC/DC meets the Faces,” made good use of singer Tom Keifer’s high-pitched growl.
1988’s Long Cold Winter continued Cinderella’s upward trajectory; in addition to introducing the blues-rock sound that would come to define the band’s later years, the album launched their signature power ballad “Don’t Know What You Got (Till It’s Gone),” which became their highest-charting single at #12 on the Hot 100. Two more albums followed in 1990 and 1994, but vocal cord issues for Keifer and a swing in public taste away from Cinderella’s style of rock music led to a hiatus in 1995.
The hiatus did not last long. In 1996, Cinderella began a second act that would continue in fits and starts until LaBar’s death. He also began pursuing side projects including Naked Beggars and Cheap Thrill. In 2014, he released his debut solo album One For The Road, on which he played every instrument but drums. In recent years LaBar suggested in interviews that Cinderella’s inactivity is due to his own problems with alcohol and drug abuse.
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