March 31, 1917 - September 10, 2009
Sam Hinton passed away on Thursday, September 10, at 4 p.m., surrounded by family and hearing his own songs.It was a peaceful end to a long, creative and beloved life. There is a sweet tribute to him on his website maintained his grandchild Katrina Cooper and her husband Danny.
Ross Altman, in a feature article, pays tribute to Sam referring to the song It's a Long Way From Amphioxus:
"The song became a part of oral tradition, at least in zoology and biology departments across the country, mostly from the singing of marine biologist/folk singer Sam Hinton, who recorded it for Folkways Records in the early 1950s. Sam later became the head of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla and carried on his dual career until about ten years ago.
Finally, a legitimate folk singer and scientist had appeared in one musician. That's evolution for you. Sam demonstrated the evolution of science itself by pointing out that Amphioxus had been superseded by an earlier form of vertebrate that was a more accurate starting point for the evolution of Homo Sapiens. That was the scientist in Sam talking.
According to Sam, "Nowadays, most systematic biologists agree that Amphioxus is a sideline, and that sea-squirts and other ascidians are more like our Great-Great-Great-to-the-nth-power Grandparents." Nonetheless, the artist in him sang the song the way it was written, because, as he put it in his liner notes to the album Songs of Men, "It's still a good song, though.""
Sam was an amazing harmonica player and a series of videos are up on Youtube. He lived in San Diego and performed at the San Diego Folk Festival and many other San Diego venues throughout his years.