'84's best new vocalist was known for 'Lotta Love'

Country-pop singer Nicolette Larson, best known for her hit version of Neil Young’s “Lotta Love” in the 1970s, died Tuesday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles from an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. She was 45.

She was originally admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank with massive liver failure and was then transferred to UCLA Medical Center, according to publicist Michael Jensen.

“We were truly devastated when we heard the news that our friend Nicolette Larson was admitted into the hospital,” said Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

He added that his partner, David Crosby, had Larson rushed to UCLA Medical Center for emergency care.

“The doctors did everything in their power to save her, but sadly they could not,” Nash said.

The Montana-born Larson released six albums and won several awards, including best new vocalist from the Academy of Country Music in 1984.

Since 1994, Larson divided her time between acting and a grueling concert schedule, appearing with Jimmy Buffett, the Beach Boys and Willie Nelson.

She played a nightclub singer in the movie “Twins,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito.

She began her entertainment career when she moved to California at age 21, and shortly afterward landed a job with Hoyt Axton’s band.

She soon appeared with Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen, and became a top backup singer for such solo artists as Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Michael McDonald.

Within five years, Larson was at the top of the pop charts with “Lotta Love.” That song propelled her career; subsequent releases included “Rumba Girl,” “Fool Me Again” and “I Only Want to Be With You.”

Larson lived in Los Angeles with her husband, drummer Russell Kunkel, and 7-year-old daughter, Elsie May.

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