Skinny Dennis Is Born
Skinny Dennis Sanchez (September 3, 1946 – March 20, 1975) was a country musician in the Los Angeles area.
He played the upright bass, most famously accompanying Nashville legend Guy Clark during Clark's stay in Los Angeles. His nickname is in reference to his having Marfan syndrome; Sanchez stood at 6'11", and weighed 135 lbs.
He is most famously mentioned in the Guy Clark song "L.A. Freeway" from Clark's 1975 record Old No. 1. In it, Clark sings:
"Here's to you ol' Skinny Dennis
The only one I think I will miss
I can hear your low bass singin'
Sweet and low like a gift you're bringin'"
Sanchez was also friends with many in Clark's circle, including Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Richard Dobson and others. A documentary featuring the aforementioned songwriters, "Heartworn Highways," is dedicated to Sanchez. Richard Dobson recorded Sanchez' song "Bus Stop Coffee" for his albums In Texas Last December and One Bar Town.
Sanchez died at age 29 of heart failure on stage, playing the bass on Sunset Beach with John Penn.
Marfan syndrome (or Marfan's syndrome) is a genetic disorder of the connective tissue.
It is sometimes inherited as a dominant trait. It is carried by a gene called FBN1, which encodes a connective protein called fibrillin-1. People have a pair of FBN1 genes. Because it is dominant, people who have inherited one affected FBN1 gene from either parent will have Marfan's. This syndrome can run from mild to severe.
People with Marfan's are typically tall, with long limbs and long thin fingers.
The most serious complications are the defects of the heart valves and aorta. It may also affect the lungs, eyes, the dural sac surrounding the spinal cord, skeleton and the hard palate.