Bass legend Jack Bruce has died

Jack Bruce, the composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist, has died of liver disease, aged 71.

News broke on the afternoon of 25th October when his family posted this on Jack’s Facebook page: “It is with great sadness that we, Jack’s family, announce the passing of our beloved Jack: husband, father, granddad, and all round legend. The world of music will be a poorer place without him, but he lives on in his music and forever in our hearts.” He died at his home in Suffolk surrounded by his family.

Bruce was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1943 and briefly attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music on a cello scholarship, but dropped out because the school wouldn’t let him play jazz. He was supposedly offered a touring spot with Marvin Gaye in the 1960s, but turned it down in favour of joining John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, where he replaced John McVie. That’s how he met Eric Clapton.

In 1966 he alongside guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker formed what became generally accepted as the world’s first supergroup, Cream. He wrote and sang most of their big hit songs, including I Feel Free, White Room, Badge and one of the world’s most performed guitar riff, on Sunshine of Your Love.

They sold 35 million albums in just over two years and were awarded a platinum disc for their album Wheels of Fire in 1968. They split later the same year and at the height of their popularity. Bruce felt that he had strayed too far from his ideals and wanted to re-discover his musical and social roots.

He released several solo albums over the years but only 1969s Songs for A Taylor made the UK chart where it reached number six. He appeared on other people’s hit including The Mersey’s hit Sorrow, The Scaffold’s Lily the Pink, Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe. He did appear on a number one when he briefly joined Manfred Mann in 1965 and featured on Pretty Flamingo.

In 1993, Cream were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They received a Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 2006 and in 2005, they reunited for a tour.

In tribute, Roger Waters, Pink Floyds bassist wrote, “Jack Bruce is probably the most musically gifted bass player who’s ever been.”

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Alvin Stardust dies

Alvin Stardust has died after losing his battle with Metatastic Prostate Cancer .

He was born Bernard Jewry in London’s Muswell Hill in 1942. His family moved to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire to follow his father Bill’s new job as a salesman. The job came with a big house where Bernard’s mother started theatrical digs for The Palace Theatre, ensuring that the young Bernard was soon surrounded by performers, actors and singers

He first changed his name to Shane Fenton and together with his backing group, The Fentones, amassed four top 40 hits with I’m A Moody Guy in 1961 and Walk Away, It’s All Over Now and a cover of Johnny Crawford’s Cindy’s Birthday, all in 1962. He also turned his hand to acting and appeared in Billy Fury’s movie Play It Cool later the same year.

In the early seventies he cashed in on the glam rock scene with seven top 20 hits including Tell Me Why, My Coo-Ca-Choo and the chart-topping Jealous Mind in 1974. He continued with that name and in 1984 he met up with his old friend Mike Batt, who wrote him a song called, I Feel Like Buddy Holly. There was a label war to sign him and Chrysalis won the race. Alvin became their top selling singles artist with three consecutive hits, I Feel Like Buddy Holly, I Won’t Run Away and So Near To Christmas.

In 1976 he became the face of the Green Cross Code road safety campaign called Children’s Heroes in which he taught children how to cross the road safely and is best remembered for the tag lines ‘You must be out of your tiny minds’ and ‘Be smart, be safe’.

He entered A Song for Europe with a track called The Clock on the Wall which made the qualifying heat of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1985. He loved acting and in 2005 he landed the role of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

He was married three times, firstly to Rory Storm’s sister Iris Caldwell then famously to Liza Goddard and, at the time of his death he was married to Julie Paton. His son Adam became a drum & bass producer under the moniker Adam F and has scored seven UK hits the highest being Circles which reached number 20 in 1997.

In 2014 he returned to the studio to record a new album, his first in 30 years. Alvin said of it, “I am extremely delighted to announce that my new album is now finished and will be released at the beginning of November by Conehead Records. Alvin is a new and exciting departure for me and I’m immensly (sic) proud of the finished product. “

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Reggae legend John Holt dies

The reggae legend John Holt has died at the age of 69.

John was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1945 (not 1947 as is most commonly listed) and by the age of 12 he was regularly entering Jamaican talent contests. One of the shows led him to record with the reggae producer Lesley Kong and in 1963 recorded his first single I Cried a Tear.

Later in the decade he formed the Paragons and wrote a stack of songs which they recorded with another reggae producer Duke Reid. His most famous songs have been covered with a great deal of success firstly in 1979 when Errol Dunkley took his song O.K Fred to number 11 and then by Blondie and Atomic Kitten who both took The Tide Is high to the top of the UK chart. Musical Youth took his song Tell Me Why into the top 40 in 1983 and king of the covers, UB40 also made the top 40 with Wear You to the Ball.

In 1970, He left the Paragons to focus on his solo career, and soon became one of the biggest names in reggae especially after he released the critically acclaimed album A Thousand Volts of Holt.

John had been battling ill health for some time now and seems to have worsened since August when he collapsed on stage at the One Love Concert in England. He’d been in a London hospital ever since.

His only UK hit was a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s song Help Me Make It Through The Night but his smooth lilting voice did justice to many of the songs he covered with a real favourite being on Never Never Never.

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British singer/songwriter Lynsey De Paul dies

The singer-songwriter Lynsey de Paul, who was the first woman to win an Ivor Novello award, has died at the age of 66.

She was born Lynsey Monckton Rubin in Cricklewood, north London in 1948 (not 1950 as is often listed) and soon after leaving school she began designing album sleeves for artists. This involved listening to tracks which inspired her to become a songwriter. One of her earliest songs were co-written with Don Gould was called Takin’ It Easy and recorded by Jack Wild in 1971.

The following year she hit the UK chart with Sugar Me which she co-wrote with Barry Blue. Other hits followed, Getting A Drag, Won’t Somebody Dance With Me (which featured the voice of DJ and personal friend Ed Stewart) and Ooh I Do. In 1977 she collaborated with Mike Moran and represented Britain in the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest with Rock Bottom where it came second behind the French winner Maria Myriam.

In 1974 her top 10 hit, No Honesty, won her another Ivor Novello Award and became the theme tune to the ITV comedy of the same name which starred Pauline Collins and John Alderton. She also wrote the theme tune to Esther Rantzen’s BBC One series Hearts of Gold.

In her lovelife, she was famously romantically linked with Sean Connery, Roy Wood, Ringo Starr, Chas Chandler, Bernie Taupin and Dudley Moore, but her longest relationship was with James Coburn, whom she lived with but never married.

Lynsey was praised by her agent, Michael Joyce who said, “Although she was small in stature, she was very big in positive personality, She was always so positive about everything.”

In 2012 she and Noddy Holder hosted the Marc Bolan 35th anniversary concert which is a charity event for the PRS for Music Members Benevolent Fund. It was held at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and featured Boy George, Steve Harley, Marc Almond, Alvin Stardust, Linda Lewis and Sandie Shaw.

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DJ Mike Smith dies

Mike Smith died on Friday 1st August from complications following heart surgery.

Smith was a DJ at London’s Capital radio and then spent six years at Radio one between 1982 and 1988, and was a presenter on Top of the Pops as well as hosting the BBC’s coverage of Live Aid in 1985.

Princess Diana once claimed that he was her favourite radio DJ.

He and his wife, Sarah Greene, hit the headlines in September 1988 once they were each seriously injured during a helicopter crash in Gloucestershire. Both survived but Greene injured both legs and one arm and Smith suffered a broken back.

The couple became engaged once they’d recovered and married a year later.


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