Born in Montreal, MacDermot rose to international acclaim in the early 1960s. After winning a pair of Grammy Awards for his "African Waltz," he went on to write the smash musical Hair, which first premiered in 1967.
MacDermot's musical became a true cultural phenomenon, spawning topping the Billboard charts, earning a Grammy and eventually turned into a full-length film. Still enduring success all these decades later, Hair is even set to make its live television debut in spring 2019 as Hair Live! on NBC.
In the wake of Hair's success, MacDermot continued to work in musical theatre, penning works such as the Tony Award-winning Two Gentlemen of Verona, Isabel's a Jezebel, Via Galactica, Dude and The Human Comedy.
MacDermot was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2009, and in 2010, he earned the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada's Lifetime Achievement Award.
MacDermot also had a huge impact on the world of hip-hop, with his work being widely sampled in the genre's earlier days. J Dilla, Gang Starr, MF DOOM, Busta Rhymes, Run-D.M.C. and more reworked the composer's material over the years.
You can find a few tributes to MacDermot below.
R.I.P. To Another Incredible Icon Of Original Music...Mr. Galt McDermott...— DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER) December 17, 2018
King Galt. The broadway community is mourning his passing this morning (#Hair will love forever) but best believe he was the hip hop community's too. Name em: #WhoHah from @bustarhymes #Mash from @officialjdilla #DownWithTheKing from @revwon & @kingdmc #CmonWitDaGitDown by @ElDaSensi & @reallyTame1 —-so many more @therealfaithevans @xplargepro @mfdoomofficial @madlib @specialedmusic @publicenemyftp @bambambaklava @dilatedpeoples —-so many classics rip to #GaltMacdermot & peep all his classics!! It fed 90s hip hop something crazy!
Some unforgettable Galt MacDermot music:— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) December 17, 2018
Maestro wrote the best basslines in musical theater. Full stop.
I want to post The Flesh Failures but you HAVE to hear Long Past Sunset from The Human Comedy: https://t.co/lL4cutqVd4