top of page


Below are brief tributes to some recent losses from across the world of music

Johnny Hallyday

Born: 15 June, 1943

Died: 5 December, 2017

We never got him, and he didn't care. The "French Elvis" sold more than 110 million records, but never made it outside la Francophonie. He was a consummate live performer, and played to sell-out crowds till the end. He spent seven years as a child in London, and half of every year latterly in LA, but he worked out early on that France was his market; they somehow saw him as their defence against the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon popular culture that he imitated.

David Cassidy

Born: 12 April, 1950

Died: 21 November, 2017

Born into a show-biz family, he became an actor before finding fame in the TV series The Partridge Family, playing alongside his real-life step-mother Shirley Jones. He became lead singer on the show, and quickly created a solo career. A mega star and teen idol in the mid 70s, he then had a successful career as a singer and actor, although he had been latterly plagued by alcohol problems, and then dementia, which caused his retirement in early 2017.


Malcolm Young

Born: 6 January, 1953

Died: 18 November, 2017

Glasgow-born co-founder of AC/DC, rhythm guitarist and chief songwriter with younger brother Angus. Not the frontman, but definitely the leader of the band, he was with it from the beginning till his retirement in 2014, after a diagnosis of dementia, apart from a brief hiatus in 1988 to deal with a drinking problem, which he did successfully. Even after his retirement, he was still a presence in the band, as Angus has acknowledged.

Paul Buckmaster

Born: 13 June, 1946

Died: 7 November, 2017

A classically trained cellist, he worked as an orchestrator and arranger, most successfully for David Bowie ("Space Oddity") and Elton John ("Your Song"). His trademark was being able to add strings to rock music without making the music overly-sentimental. He also worked with the Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, Carly Simon, and Miles Davis. Later he settled in the US  where he worked with, among others, Guns N' Roses and Taylor Swift.

Phil Miller

Born: 22 January, 1949

Died: 18 October, 2017

Precise, painstaking, original guitarist, of whom Robert Wyatt, with whom he played in Matching Mole, said he would "rather play a wrong note than a note somebody else had played". He started off in Delivery, before joining Matching Mole, and then Hatfield and The North, and National Health. Latterly, he led his own band In Cahoots. Famous for his pained, grimacing on-stage visage, off stage he was gentle, quiet, and mild. 

Eamonn Campbell

Born: 29 November, 1946

Died: 18 October, 2017

During his two decades as a session musician, proving his versatility with everyone and everything in Dublin music, he played occasional guest spots with the Dubliners. This led to them asking him to produce them - that turned into a 25 year stint as a full member until the group called it a day in 2012. Controversially, he pushed them into a collaboration with The Pogues - it proved a great success.

Tom Petty

Born: 20 October, 1950

Died: 2 October, 2017

Blue-collar roots, influenced by Elvis, The Beatles and The Stones to give rock 'n roll a go, and taught in his youth by fellow Floridian Don Felder, Tom Petty was at the top of the tree from the mid-1970s with his own Heartbreakers and then as part of the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys (as Muddy Wilbury). Despite the fame, he always looked well-grounded, and was known for his everyman attitudes and his philanthropy.

bottom of page