NICK REYNOLDS, 75
Founding member of the Kingston Trio
Nick Reynolds, a founding member of the Kingston Trio whose smooth tenor and gift for harmonizing helped propel the group to worldwide fame in the folk-music revival of the late 1950s and early '60s, died Wednesday in San Diego.
The cause was respiratory disease, said his son Joshua Reynolds.
Whether singing high harmony or taking the lead part in songs like "MTA," "The Wanderer" and "Hobo's Lullaby," Mr. Reynolds, who played tenor guitar, helped define the clean, close-harmony style that brought folk music into countless American homes for the first time.
"Nobody could nail a harmony part like Nick," said Bob Shane, another founding member of the group. "He could hit it immediately, exactly where it needed to be, absolutely note-perfect, all on the natch."
Although regarded as overly commercial by purists, the trio inspired the folk-music revival and paved the way for the breezy and ingratiating Limeliters and Chad Mitchell Trio and later for more political artists like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary. "We got America up and singing," Mr. Reynolds said.
Thirteen of the group's albums reached the Top 10; in 1959 alone, four of its albums placed in the Top 10, a record matched only by the Beatles.