Paul Pena Dies

Published: 2005-10-07
Paul Pena, a guitarist and songwriter best known for penning Steve Miller's Top 10 hit "Jet Airliner", died Saturday in San Francisco due to complications from diabetes and pancreatitis.

Pena reportedly was able to live off the royalties generated by the success of the 1977 hit until his death.

He began his career as a blues guitarist, finding work throughout the 70's with the likes of Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and T-Bone Walker.

Later, Pena took an unlikely musical turn, developing an interest in Tuvan throat singing, a singular art form which involves producing multiple vocal sounds simultaneously. Due to his interest in throat singing, Pena became the subject of the Academy Award-nominated documentary Genghis Blues. The 1999 film followed Pena as he traveled to Tuva to participate in the annual throat singing competition.

Pena was born with partially blind and was hampered by illness throughout his life. He is survived by his parents and two brothers.

Writer: Neil McDonald



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