Outfield Frontman Tony Lewis Dies at 62

Tony Lewis, singer and bassist for the London-based pop-rock trio the Outfield, has died. He was 62.

The news was shared on Lewis’ Facebook page, which did not disclose the cause of death.

“It is with great sadness and sorrow to announce that Tony Lewis has unexpectedly passed away,” reads a post. “He was a beautiful soul who touched so many lives with his love, his spirit, and his music. He loved his fans dearly and enjoyed every opportunity he had when meeting all of you. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

The Outfield was founded in 1984 by Lewis, drummer Alan Jackman and guitarist John Spinks, who died in 2014 at age 60 from cancer. They released their debut album, Play Deep, in late 1985. By early the next year, they had reached No. 6 in the U.S. with the catchy single “Your Love.”

The album also reached the Top 10 and was eventually certified triple platinum, spawning two more charting singles: “All the Love in the World” (which hit No. 19) and “Everytime You Cry” (which made it to No. 66).

Watch the Outfield’s ‘Your Love’ Video

In 1987, the band released its second album, Bangin’, which included “Since You’ve Been Gone,” which made it to No. 31. The Outfield charted four more singles over the next five years, including “Voices of Babylon” and “For You,” both of which made it to the Top 25.

In 1992, they placed their final single on the U.S. chart, “Closer to Me,” which stalled outside the Top 40. But they continued to release albums over the years as a duo after Jackman left. Their final LP came out in 2011. Like its predecessors from 1992 onward, however, Replay failed to chart.

Lewis continued to make music after the Outfield broke up in the wake of Spinks’ death. He released his first solo album, Out of the Darkness, in 2018, playing every note and producing by himself. He also toured the record in the States that year.

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The Outfield Frontman Tony Lewis Dead at 62

The music world is mourning the death of The Outfield frontman and bassist Tony Lewis, who died at his home near London on Tuesday (Oct. 20) at the age of 62.

“It is with great sadness and sorrow to announce that Tony Lewis has unexpectedly passed away. He was a beautiful soul who touched so many lives with his love, his spirit and his music. He loved his fans dearly and enjoyed every opportunity he had when meeting all of you,” explained a statement on Lewis’ Twitter account. No cause of death was announced.

Lewis was born on Dec. 21, 1957, and founded the Outfield with his longtime friends Alan Jackman and John Spinks. The group enjoyed a successful run in the ’80s and early ’90s, kicking off with their 1985 debut album Play Deep. The album peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 chart but went on to be certified triple platinum.

It yielded the hits “Say It Isn’t So,” “Your Love” (which was their biggest song peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 7 on the Mainstream Rock Chart), “All the Love” and “Everytime You Cry.”

The band issued nine studio albums in all, the last being 2011’s Replay. Guitarist John Spinks died in 2014 at the age of 60 from liver cancer, after which Lewis embarked on a solo career. He released his solo record Out of the Darkness in 2018 and released an MTV Unplugged EP earlier this year.

The Outfield, “Your Love”

The Outfield, “Say It Isn’t So”

The Outfield, “Voices of Babylon”

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Spencer Davis Dies of Pneumonia at 81

Spencer Davis, whose eponymous group provided a springboard for Steve Winwood‘s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame career, has died after a bout with pneumonia. He was 81.

“He was a very good friend,” Spencer’s agent Bob Birk told the BBC. “He was a highly ethical, very talented, goodhearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed.”

Founded in 1963, the Spencer Davis Group reached No. 7 in the U.S. with “Gimme Some Lovin'” in 1966, while topping the U.K. charts with “Keep on Running” and “Somebody Help Me.” Winwood, who was only 14 when he first started fronting the group, left in 1967 to co-found Traffic. He later was part of the short-lived supergroup Blind Faith before establishing a celebrated solo career.

The Spencer Davis Group continued for a couple more years before splitting. They returned with two albums in the early ’70s, 1973’s Gluggo and 1974’s Living in a Back Street, before breaking up again. Davis dabbled in more jazz-focused recordings then returned to touring with the group in 2006. Those lineups also included late-’60s era member Eddie Hardin before his death in 2015.

Born in Swansea in 1939, Spencer had lived in California since the ’70s. His earliest bands included future Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman and Christine McVie, later of Fleetwood Mac.

“Keep On Running” memorably pushed the Beatles‘ double A-sided single “We Can Work It Out”/”Day Tripper” out of the top slot, leading to a congratulatory message. “It’s in a pile of papers somewhere,” Davis told the BBC in 2009. “It said, ‘Congratulations on reaching number one – the Beatles.'”

Davis subsequently made a cameo in the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour film, portraying a bus passenger.

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‘Gimme Some Lovin’ Guitarist Spencer Davis Dead at 81

Spencer Davis, best known as the multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the eponymously named Spencer Davis Group, has died at the age of 81.

The news was delivered by his agent Bob Birk, who revealed to the BBC that the musician died Monday (Oct. 19) in his hospital room while being treated for pneumonia.

The group formed in 1963 with future star Steve Winwood on keyboards and vocals. Davis founded the group after discovering the Winwood brothers (Steve, who was then 14 and bassist Muff Winwood) playing at a pub. Pete York later joined on drums completing the early incarnation of the group.

The band scored a string of hits in the early ’60s with songs such as “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “I’m a Man,” “Keep on Runnin'” and “Somebody Help Me.” The Winwood brothers split in 1967, but Davis reformed his band and continued into the ’70s. After the Spencer Davis Group split, Davis found modest success as a solo artist before taking an executive position at Island Records in the ’70s.

“He was a very good friend,” said Bob Birk, who had worked with the musician for more than 30 years. “He was a highly ethical, very talented, good-hearted, extremely intelligent, generous man. He will be missed.”

Spencer Davis Group, “Gimme Some Lovin'”

Spencer Davis Group, “I’m a Man”

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Former King Crimson Singer Gordon Haskell Dead at 74

Former King Crimson bassist and vocalist Gordon Haskell has died at the age of 74.

Confirmation of the rocker’s passing came via his Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Gordon, a great musician and a wonderful person who will be sadly missed by so many,” the post read, accompanied by a photo of the musician.

Haskell’s music career began in London during the late ‘60s. The rocker played bass in the psychedelic pop band the Fleur De Lys, and later became a session musician for Atlantic Records. In the latter role, Haskell worked with a variety of creative minds, including Isaac Hayes, David Porter and producer George Martin.

In 1970, Haskell connected with school friend Robert Fripp, band leader of King Crimson. Haskell would provide bass and vocals for the song “Cadence and Cascade” on In The Wake of Poseidon, released in May of 1970. Later that year, he’d reprise both roles for the band’s next album, Lizard. He’d depart the group shortly after recording the LP, due to a preference for R&B music, rather than King Crimson’s prog-rock style.

Haskel would later sue the band for royalties he believed he was owed, extending his uncomfortable divorce from the group.

A note on King Crimson’s official Facebook page paid respects to the departed rocker, while also acknowledging their messy history. “His time in KC wasn’t a particularly happy part of his long career but his work on In The Wake Of Poseidon and in particular, Lizard is much admired in the Crimson community,” the message read in part.

Haskell continued putting out solo work throughout his long career, releasing a total of 13 albums between 1969 and 2020. In 2001, the musician scored a late career hit with the song “How Wonderful You Are,” which reached No. 2 in the U.K. His most recent LP, The Cat Who’s Got the Cream, was released in January 2020.

Haskell’s cause of death has yet to be revealed.

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Kottonmouth Kings Co-Founder Steven ‘Saint Dog’ Thronson Dies

Veteran rap-rock outfit Kottonmouth Kings are mourning the death of co-founder/rapper Steven “Saint Dog” Thronson. Though a cause of death was not revealed, the band confirmed that the musician died on Tuesday (Oct 13) at the age of 44.

“We will miss you and your big heart,” stated the group. “You were one of a kind and our hearts our broken. But we promise to keep your legacy alive through your music. Everyone please take some time and say a few words or tell a story about our fallen brother below. He touched so many and we will keep his legacy thriving. #RIPSaintDog”

The mourning continued through the week with bandmate D-Loc posting a tearful video salute to the musician, reflecting back to their youth and expressing how difficult it was to come to terms with the death. The group also posted a throwback photo from the early days as well.

“Saint Dog” not only appeared on multiple albums with the group, but also issued three solo albums before reuniting with the band on 2018’s Kingdom Come album. The band broke out in 1998 with their Royal Highness album, featuring the single “Dogs Life.”

The band is also selling special merchandise in honor of Thronson with the proceeds helping his family take care of the funeral and set his final affairs in order. Head here to pick up the shirt or donate.

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2020

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Former AC/DC Bassist Paul Matters Reportedly Dies

Former AC/DC bassist Paul Matters died at home in Australia, author Jesse Fink reported.

Described by the band as a “pretty boy,” he was fired by Bon Scott in 1975 after only being in the group for a matter of weeks, and soon gave up music altogether. He’d lived a reclusive life since then, only speaking about his time in the band once in 40 years.

In Fink’s 2017 book Bon: The Last Highway, Matters said: “I was only with them a short time. I did the High Voltage tour around Australia.” He recalled how Scott dismissed him, saying: “He got out the back of a truck… and he told me I wasn’t going back to Melbourne with them. We were up in Sydney doing a concert for schoolkids. So I didn’t play that day. I just turned around and didn’t say a word to him. I turned around and walked out.”

He said he’d loved playing live but was less at home in the studio. “I was just a bit lazy, I think,” he explained, and went on to report that he’d been upset by being left without money to buy food. “The tour manager came in with a bundle of 20s and he gave $20 out to each of us… He was just going to walk about. And I said, ‘Listen, mate, if you’re not going to give me any money, I’ll go now.’ So he gave me $20.” Matters reported that he was still “gutted” by his treatment, which led to him selling his bass and giving up music. “Every day I kick myself, mate,” he added. “It can be a ruthless business… Money. It can break a person.”

A former colleague in an earlier band, Les Gully, said in the book that Matters “didn’t really fit” AC/DC because he “had strong opinions and sensitivity, and played just what he liked.” A friend, Paul Wescombe, paid tribute by saying: “I recall he could always make me laugh when he was in the mood. After leaving New South Wales I lost contact with him as did many other people over the years. From all reports he lived a reclusive life in his later years and his early rock n’ roll life style led to ailing health. He will be missed by all who knew him.”

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Beatles and James Bond Actress Margaret Nolan Dead at 76

Actress and model Margaret Nolan, who appeared in the Beatles’ first film, A Hard Day’s Night, and the James Bond movie Goldfinger the same year, died on Oct. 5 at the age of 76, her son Oscar Deeks confirmed to Variety.

Nolan played a woman at a casino in the Fab Four’s comedy, which was released in July 1964. A couple months later, she was seen as the gold-painted woman in the title sequence for Sean Connery’s third 007 outing; she also played Dink in the same movie. Goldfinger included a scene where Bond disses the Beatles, saying that drinking champagne that’s lost its chill was like listening to the group’s music “without earmuffs.”

Edgar Wright, who cast Nolan in his upcoming movie Last Night in Soho, described her as a person at the center of “everything cool in the ‘60s” and added she was often seen “sending up her own glamour-puss image.” She’d continued her career in film and TV; she later became known for her artwork based on manipulations of her own publicity shots.

In 2007, Nolan told Den of Geek: “I’d send off a photo, perhaps three or four – wonderful eight-by-10 portraits – with a letter, and I’d get work! And from that work came more work and more work, and I just didn’t stop at all. … There’s this kind of passive ‘look’, which is part of what it was like in the ‘60s. … We weren’t allowed to have an expression on our face.”

Nolan added that the “idea was really to just look beautiful … and passive, the way men liked you to look. And I hope that comes out in the montages; that’s why I made some of them quite grotesque, really. … The idea that I was there as this passive woman, being looked at, but behind it all, behind my eyes, of course I knew what was going on. Hopefully, that comes out in the material, that I’m looking at you looking at me – that I’m acting coy but I know what it’s all about!”

Nolan is survived by her two sons, cinematographer Deeks and Luke O’Sullivan.

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Rockers Mourn Loss of Guitar Legend Eddie Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen, longtime lead guitarist of the legendary Van Halen, has died today (Oct. 6) at the age of 65. The news came from his son, Wolfgang Van Halen.

Van Halen rose to popularity in the latter half of the 1970s with the release of their self-titled debut album in 1978 and its follow-up, 1979’s Van Halen II. The guitar virtuoso’s incredibly distinctive sound, especially showcased on instrumental tracks like “Eruption,” became a signature part of the band’s identity. His playing has served as an influence for guitarists all around the world.

A plethora of musicians have taken to social media to share their sentiments and mourn the loss of Van Halen, including members of Black Sabbath, Tool, Motley Crue Megadeth, Anthrax, Queensryche, Judas Priest and more. See their tributes below.

The 66 Best Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time

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Van Halen Guitarist Eddie Van Halen Dies at 65

The music world has suffered a great loss as Van Halen guitarist and co-founder Eddie Van Halen has died at the age of 65.

Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, confirmed the news via social media. His statement can be read below.

I can’t believe I have to write this, but my father, Edward Lodewijk Van Halen, has lost his long arduous battle with cancer this morning.

He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and off stage was a gift.

My heart is broken and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover from this loss.

I love you so much, Pop.

Born in Amsterdam to Jan van Halen and Eugenia van Halen, Edward was part of a musical family. His father was a clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist. The family moved to Pasadena, California in February 1962 and Eddie and his brother Alex gravitated toward music at a young age, with both siblings starting on piano at the age of six.

Eddie and Alex formed their first band in 1972, eventually adopting the Van Halen family name for the group in the mid-’70s and landing a record deal with Warner Bros. in 1977. The band, which by that point featured David Lee Roth on vocals and Michael Anthony on bass, released their self-titled debut album in 1978, bolstered by Eddie’s ear-catching guitar playing on their introductory cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” The album also featured “Eruption,” a track displaying Eddie’s nimble guitar playing that made him an instant favorite as a new guitar hero in the hard rock scene.

During his time with Van Halen, the band released 12 studio albums, including the Diamond certified 1984, which has sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. Van Halen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2020

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Rocco Prestia, Tower of Power Bassist, Dies at 69

Rocco Prestia, the founding bass player of the legendary funk band Tower of Power, died on Sept. 29 at the age of 69.

Founder and saxophonist Emilio Castillo confirmed the news yesterday on Tower of Power’s Facebook page. “Our dear ‘Rocco’ passed away last night, peacefully with his family by his side at a hospice in Las Vegas,” he wrote. “Some of us were blessed to have a few parting words with him over the last few days and for that I’m so grateful.”

The cause of death wasn’t given, but he’d had numerous health problems, including a liver replacement in 2002, open heart surgery in 2006 and a kidney transplant six years ago.

“He fought a long fight over the last 20 years and now he’s with the Lord and heaven is his home,” Castillo added. “I’ll miss him dearly but I know that he’s now at peace and I look forward to seeing him there. To say that Francis Rocco Prestia was a huge part of the Tower of Power sound is a gross understatement. When people listened to Tower of Power it was always Rocco that they walked away talking about and he had a major impact on the music world.”

Born March 7, 1951 in Sonora, Calif., Francis Rocco Prestia received an electric guitar, amp and lessons as a Christmas gift when he was 10. Four years later, he met Castillo, who recalled that Prestia’s attempt to join his band didn’t go too well.

“Frank was a very sweet kid with really cool hair when we first met in junior high school and we actually brought him into our band because of his hair,” Castillo said. “He was a horrible guitar player. My father had hired a teacher named Terry Saunders to teach us one song a week and the first thing Terry said to Frank was, ‘You need to play the bass!!!’ How right he was!!! As a bass player he was totally unique and as a person he was one of a kind.”

By 1970, the two had formed Tower of Power and released their debut East Bay Grease. Their stint on Warner Bros. began with the follow-up, 1972’s Bump City, which gave them their first Top 40 hit, the ballad “You’re Still a Young Man.” Over the years, they had two more Top 40 hits, “So Very Hard to Go” and “Don’t Change Horses (In the Middle of a Stream),” as well as the classic “What Is Hip?”

Prestia was fired in 1977, during which time he played in Bay Area blues bands, but was asked back in 1984, although they never regained the commercial momentum of those early ’70s records. He stayed with them until 2018, when his deteriorating health forced Tower of Power to move on without him, but he remained on the payroll.

Listen to Tower of Power’s “What Is Hip?”

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Donny Hillier, Trauma Singer and Cliff Burton Bandmate, Has Died

Donny Hillier, the lead vocalist of San Francisco thrash act Trauma (and center in the above photo), died Tuesday (Sept. 28), the band has disclosed. Late Metallica bassist Cliff Burton cut his teeth in Trauma in the early ’80s.

The group shared a short statement this week announcing the death. However, Trauma didn’t reveal a cause of death beyond noting that Hillier suffered a brief ailment in preceding days. Surviving members of the band include guitarists Steve Robello and Joe Fraulob, bassist Greg Christian and drummer Kris Gustofson.

“It is with immeasurable sadness that Trauma shares the news that our brother Donny Hillier passed away yesterday, September 28, 2020, from a short illness,” the group revealed. “We are all grief-stricken and send our deepest condolences to Donny’s family and will respect their wishes for privacy at this time. Donny was the voice of Trauma since the beginning in 1981 and will be a hard act to follow.”

Trauma’s early-’80s iteration performed for just a few short years before disbanding in 1985. But in 2013, the group reformed around Hillier, who was the last remaining original member. A year later, the band signed with Pure Steel Records for their 2015 comeback album, Rapture and Rath.

More recently, Trauma released As the World Dies (2018, Rivet Records), their final full-length release with Hillier as lead singer. The band’s debut LP, Scratch and Scream, emerged in 1985 on Shrapnel Records.

Still, perhaps the most persistent tale in metal lore regarding Trauma is that of Cliff Burton’s defection to join Metallica in late 1982. As the story goes, Metallica’s James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich heard Burton’s playing backstage at a Los Angeles gig between the two bands that year. Impressed, they sought him out for their own group. But Burton was unwilling to move to LA and made Metallica relocate to Northern California to join him.

As of this posting, Hillier’s exact age at the time of his death was unclear.

Rockers We’ve Lost in 2020

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