Charles Wayne Day: The Guitarist Who Died of a Non-Communicable Disease

Charles Wayne Day was an American guitarist and singer who played blues and rock music in various bands and solo projects. He was also the biological father of Owen Vanessa Elliot, the daughter of the late singer Cass Elliot of the Mamas and The Papas. He died on March 10, 2008, in Healdsburg, California, at the age of 65. The exact cause of his death was not revealed, but some sources suggest that he had health problems related to a non-communicable disease.

Early Life and Career

Charles Wayne Day was born on August 5, 1942, in Chicago, Illinois. He started his musical career at the age of 15, when he recorded the single “Pony Tail Partner” under the name “Bing Day” at Federal Records in 1957. He continued to record several singles under different names, such as “Ford Hopkins” and “The Young Gyants”, until he moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1965. There, he joined Johnny Rivers’ band as a bassist, and contributed to the signature lead guitar riff of the song “Secret Agent Man”. He also worked with the Mamas and the Papas as a second guitarist on their hits “Monday, Monday” and “California Dreamin’”. He later played on numerous recordings by other artists, such as Shel Silverstein, Luther Tucker, and Merl Saunders. He also wrote for the soundtrack of the animated film Fritz the Cat.

Personal Life and Death

Charles Wayne Day was married twice, but both marriages ended in divorce. He had four children: Debby (from his first marriage), Kelli, Travis, and Kane. He also had a daughter, Owen Vanessa Elliot, with singer Cass Elliot, whom he never publicly acknowledged as his own. Owen was raised by Cass and her husband, Donald von Wiedenman, until Cass died in 1974. Owen later found out that Charles was her biological father, with the help of Michelle Phillips, another member of the Mamas and the Papas

Charles Wayne Day lived in Fairfax, California, from 1969, and performed locally in the San Rafael area until he became ill in January 2007. He was hospitalized for several months, and died on March 10, 2008, in District Hospital in Healdsburg. The exact cause of his death was not disclosed, but some sources claim that he had a non-communicable disease. A memorial and parade were held in Fairfax for him on March 22, 2008.