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San Francisco's 'Bucket Man' Larry Hunt has died at 64

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

The man who brought a percussive soundtrack to the streets of San Francisco has died.

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

Larry Hunt, who called himself the Bucket Man, performed downtown for decades, drumming on five-gallon buckets, pots and pans and a cowbell all the while flashing big smiles at passersby.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LARRY HUNT: (Singing, inaudible).

CHANG: Hunt grew up in Kansas before making his way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Despite a lot of noise complaints over the years and police confiscating his kit on at least one occasion, he kept on drumming.

SUMMERS: And he was a showman, too. He would light his drumsticks on fire and keep the beat going before extinguishing the flames in his mouth.

CHANG: Hunt's fame as a busker even brought him a film cameo in the 2006 Will Smith movie "The Pursuit Of Happiness." And he also got an invitation to give a TEDx Talk in 2012.

(SOUNDBITE OF TEDx TALK)

HUNT: My music and my happiness - I'm always happy. I'm hurting inside, but outside, I'm happy 'cause I make y'all happy. I put a smile on your face. So remember that. Be happy till you see another day. Be strong, y'all.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HUNT: (Singing in Spanish).

SUMMERS: Larry Hunt, the Bucket Man, died last week. He was 64.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

HUNT: (Singing) Feeling hot, hot, hot.

Hello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Christopher Intagliata is an editor at All Things Considered, where he writes news and edits interviews with politicians, musicians, restaurant owners, scientists and many of the other voices heard on the air.