The Detroit Cobras’ founding member and lead vocalist Rachel Nagy passed away last year. Nagy and guitarist Mary Ramirez founded the band in the early 1990s. Neither the cause of death nor Nagy’s age at the time of passing are available.

It was a life cut short but nevertheless vital and inspirational to everyone who knew and loved her. With the Detroit Cobras, Rachel Nagy gave audiences all around the world a taste of Rock, Soul, and R&B. She wasn’t just a performer; Nagy was the music itself. She took it to unimaginable heights with her profoundly moving vocal prowess.

The Detroit Cobras’ final song What More/I Can’t Go Back came out on Third Man Records in 2018.

The record label said in a statement that Rachel Nagy was the right blend of hardcore badass and utter sweetness. Rachel and the Detroit Cobras have been a steady and inspirational presence in our world for close to 25 years. Right from the first White Stripes concerts in Detroit at the Magic Stick to the Third Man tenth anniversary concert in Nashville. The sound of her resonant laughter, her blunt honesty, and her genuine companionship will be sorely missed.

The Detroit Cobras, dubbed “Detroit’s Most Famous Cover Band,” started off in Detroit in 1994 and rose to fame for their garage rock covers of Sixties songs. Their four studio albums Mink, Rat or Rabbit and Life, Love and Leaving released on the same record label as the first three White Stripes records. They were all covers albums, and featured songs by Nagy, Ramirez and The Shangri-Las. 

Mink, Rat or Rabbit and Life, Love and Leaving were both reissued by Third Man Records in 2016; the label referred to them as one of the early salvos in the great Detroit garage boom around the turn of the century. Rachel Nagy’s unmistakable vocals were undoubtedly an inspiration for artists like Amy Winehouse years later. 

Many people assumed as they were just a cover band they were easy to overlook. 

Actually, it’s harder to do that. People have the flexibility to mess up and change things when performing original tunes. With them they were trying to achieve something unique and special.

The odd thing about people calling them a cover band is that most just cover  well-known songs that people want to sing along to. Even people who were really devoted to music were frequently unaware of many of the tracks they played.

Over time, the Detroit Cobras became famous for their role in popularizing the city’s garage rock culture. Nagy would listen many different genres and types of music. These could even include albums by the Muppets or any of the many records that fans sent her.

The Omicron spike forced the Detroit Cobras to cancel a string of 2022 performances, including one in their home city of Detroit on January 7.

Nagy was very enthusiastic about touring and producing an album until COVID hit according to Cobra. Due to the pandemic’s many complications, European tours had to be canceled or postponed. When one of the band members developed COVID, Cobra claimed that Nagy became into a worried mother figure.

According to Cobra, the band’s final performance took place in August 2021 at El Club with the band Negative Approach. The Detroit Cobras almost didn’t play due to Nagy’s sister Suzanne’s sudden death. Nagy was told by Cobra that no one would blame her for canceling the performance, but she persisted.

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