Dennis Yost, 65, the lead singer with the rock group the Classics IV, which in the late 1960s and early '70s challenged the then-ascendant music of drugs and protest with a more laid-back, softer sound in Top 10 hits like "Spooky," "Stormy" and "Traces of Love," died Sunday in Hamilton, Ohio.

Mr. Yost had been hospitalized since suffering a brain injury in a 2006 fall.

In an interview with the Tennessean in 2002, Mr. Yost called the Classics IV "the first soft-rock band." But this did not mean the band specialized in cheery, up-tempo pop: "Stormy," which reached No. 5 in 1968, and "Traces," which hit No. 2 in 1969, were downright melancholy.

- N.Y. Times News Service