After a brief rally that had friends and fans optimistic, songwriter Lou Tracey died yesterday at UPMC Shadyside after battling pneumonia. After time in the ICU, he'd been released to another unit of the hospital. He'd also been talking to friends, including songwriting partner and friend, Joe Negri. Optimism ran high, but then Negri received a report from Tracey's niece that his condition had turned grave. No information is available on his age. Will update as more is known.
Tracey. born Louis Mastracci, Jr., a longtime resident of Bloomfield, was a true Pittsburgh original. Even if his work was not always well known (and he was always modest about his gifts), as a lyricist, Lou stood in the long and proud tradition of immortal Pittsburgh composers who went before him, including Stephen Foster, Leo Robin, Billy Strayhorn, Jay Livingston and Oscar Levant.
Perhaps Lou summed it up best in the final verse of this tune, co-written with Negri, and recorded in 1995 by Joyce Breach. In the backup band, Negri and the late Pittsburgh trumpeter Danny Conn.
When my life is over
Don't weep and pray for me.
Just bury me in clover
And sing and play for me--
My music--and watch my soul ascend
Because music is my best friend.
Lou Tracey, who seemed to show up at every jazz event in the City, had plenty of best friends.
Today they all mourn--and remember.
"Music Is My Best Friend."
Pittsburgh songwriter Lou Tracey, respected nationwide for his classic pop tunes, is in the ICU at UPMC Shadyside battling pneumonia.