Dino Danelli, the drummer who brought a jazzman’s virtuosity to the Rascals’ rock ‘n’ roll sound, died Thursday, Dec. 15, in New York, according to his Facebook page and confirmed by his group mates.

He was 78.

“It is with a broken heart that I have to inform you of the passing of Dean Donnelly,” Rascals guitarist Gene Cornish said on social media. “He was my brother and the greatest drummer I ever saw. I am devastated at this point.

“Rest in peace, Dina. I love you brother.’

Danelli was a Jersey City native who took a few gigs before joining Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati and Gene Cornish to form the Young Rascals. The band Garfield debuted at the Choo Choo Club in Garfield.

Their numerous hits, including “Good Lovin'”, “Groovin'”, “People Got to Be Free”, “A Beautiful Morning” and “How Can I Be Sure”, pushed the boundaries of the rock-pop sound of the era with elements soul, jazz and the use of complex arrangements and instrumentation.

E Street Band member Stephen Van Zandt saw the band at the former Keyport Roller Drome in 1965. Bruce Springsteen was also in the audience.

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