[rocknroll-scars] Another one bites the dust
- Hi folks,
Some of you might have heard/read this already but I only just found out,
and I'm very sad to have to pass on the news of the death of bass player and
singer Andy Lewis, who died on February 14.
Andy grew up in Canberra and was one of many performers, including Tony
Hayes (aka Stevie Plunder), Tim Freedman and The Doug Anthony Allstars, who
came down from Canberra in the 80s and did so much to enliven the Sydney
Andy came to Sydney as a member of The Plunderers; in subsequent years he
was a member of the much-loved Andy 500 and was a founding member of The
Whitlams. He left the Whitlams around the time that their original guitarist
Tony Hayes died. For the last few years, Andy had been with another group of
well-known Canberra chaps, The Gadflys, who have become familiar faces
around the country thanks to their longtime residency on TV's "Good News
Andy was a very fine musician, and a fixture on the Canberra and Sydney
inner-city music scenes. He will be much missed. Sadly, Andy leaves behind
two young children, so a benefit for his family is being held on Friday 10
March at The Metro in Sydney to raise money for the continuing care and
welfare of Andy's family.
- TONY ASHTON, Musician (1946-2001)
His group was a one-hit wonder but Tony Ashton, who has died of cancer aged
55, was more than just a pop musician. He was a session musician and record
producer, a singer, keyboard player and composer. His group, Ashton, Gardner
and Dyke, had their only hit, Resurrection Shuffle, in 1971, reaching No2 in
the British charts.
Born of a musical family in Blackburn, Ashton grew up in Blackpool. By the
time he left school at 15, he was a competent pianist and organist having
absorbed the styles of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff and other American
artists who had transported jazz to the borders of pop.
In the early 1960s, after touring Scandinavia as a member of Jimmy Justice
and the Jury, he returned to Blackpool to form the Executives, recording
three singles. He also worked with various minor Merseybeat outfits before
the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein invited him to join the instrumental
group the Remo Four early in '65.
As well as recording their own albums, the outfit backed Johnny Sandon,
Gregory Phillips and Tommy Quickly. At Ashton's instigation, they developed
a jazz-rock repertoire as heard on a German LP Smile! (1967). They also
assisted George Harrison on the soundtrack for the Jane Birkin film
Wonderwall (1969), which was the first LP issued on the Beatles' Apple
In 1971, Harrison hired Ashton to play on his All Things Must Pass triple
album. By then, Ashton, Gardner and Dyke - with Remo Four drummer Roy Dyke
and bass guitarist Kim Gardner from the Creation - had recorded their first
single, Maiden Voyage (1969), followed by the Ashton, Gardner & Dyke album.
Among its tracks was Vaggsang, Ashton's Debussy-esque piano solo.
Resurrection Shuffle, however, was an upbeat opus that lived mainly in a
brash horn section and Ashton's ebullient vocal. His showmanship came to the
fore on television, and the record sold well in Germany and the United
States. An associated album, The Worst Of Ashton, Gardner and Dyke (1970),
featured Harrison but neither it nor subsequent releases were commercial
successes and the trio disbanded in 1973.
Later, Ashton served as producer for Kenny Ball, Ian Dury and Chas and Dave.
His hand in extramural ventures by Deep Purple's Jon Lord led to First Of
The Big Bands (1974), attributed to "Ashton and Lord", and then a merger
with drummer Ian Paice as Paice, Ashton and Lord (PAL). An album, Malice In
Wonderland (1977), was promoted with a British tour. Ashton also featured at
Star-Club reunion spectaculars in the late '70s, and co-hosted the 1983
Channel 4 pop series, Gastank.
During successively longer gaps between musical projects, he also made
headway as a painter until cancer was diagnosed in 1999. He is survived by
his wife Sandra and stepdaughter Indira.
[Alan Clayson, The Guardian, London]
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