It is with sadness that we bring you the news that highly-regarded saxophonist Raphael Ravenscroft passed away, suddenly, yesterday (October 20th), aged 60.
Raphael was most noted for his sax solo on the late Gerry Rafferty's 1978 hit, Baker Street, from the album City To City - a solo which propelled him to stardom. He was paid just £27.50 for the original recording, but the popularity of the track resulted in him earning many thousands in subsequent royalties.
The quality of Raphael's saxophony lead to work on various Pink Floyd related projects. Live, he was part of David Gilmour's 1984 About Face tour, and he played sax on Roger Waters' release of the same year, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. The previous year, his tenor sax appeared on Pink Floyd's album, The Final Cut.
Some very sad news reached us this evening - Mark Fisher OBE, founder and managing director of Stufish, the Mark Fisher Studio, has passed away. Born in 1947, as a stage designer he worked in the worlds of music and entertainment, revolutionising them and bringing incredible new concepts at every turn.
He specialized in the design of entertainment projects for the whole of his professional career, and his resume reads like a dream "who's who" of projects. These ranged from major tours for pretty much every big artist (Pink Floyd, Roger Waters, U2, The Rolling Stones, Madonna, and Metallica) through to Cirque du Soleil, and worldwide events such as the design of the water stadium and scenic effects for the Opening Ceremony of the Asian Games in Guangzhou in November 2010. He was also Executive Producer for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies, having been behind the same Ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Mark's Floyd related show design credits include 'The Wall' (for Pink Floyd in 1980, for Roger Waters solo in Berlin in 1990, and as a world tour in 2010-13) which included The Teacher which was modelled after him, and the Floyd's 1994 tour. Our interview with Mark from 2005 has him in reflective mood, and you can read the interview here.
Mark's passing is a huge loss to the world of music - an unsung genius responsible for so much more than people tend to realise... RIP Mr Fisher. The following video shows Mark presenting the 2012 Royal Designers for Industry Address, explaining the development of the industry and the technology that supports large-scale touring live entertainment:
This weekend, StormThorgerson.com had an update from the colleagues of Storm, who very sadly passed away on Thursday. "In accordance with Storm's wishes, the studio will continue to work through this sad time and into the foreseeable future. The team remains in place, steered by Peter Curzon, Rupert Truman and Dan Abbott, and will continue the work of creating 'normal but not' images while having a cup of tea and thinking about 'it'." Accompanying their update is the image to the right.
Elsewhere this weekend, news media across the world paid tribute to Storm Thorgerson, who very sadly passed away on Thursday. This was in the form of articles, tributes and even political/topical cartoonists using Storm's images as the basis of their regular submissions.
In amongst the obituaries, was a tribute from Aubrey 'Po' Powell, who worked with Storm for many years, that was published in the UK's The Guardian. Within his reflections, Po notes that "Storm's ideas were extraordinary, but the execution even more so. He insisted on creating real sculptures for each of his projects. Everything had to be built and photographed in situ to a size determined by the idea. No fakery, no Photoshop, or no deal.
"Things were never made easy for Storm's clients. He was a lateral and fearless thinker for whom the presentation of ideas was like a game of intellectual charades, with a few clues as to the meaning of the work thrown in every now and again. More often than not, the images he produced were unrelated to the original brief, and so it became a marathon task to interpret what came out of Storm's head.
"Always late, nearly always forgiven; full of quips, some not always appreciated; far too clever for his own good, but with a crazily gifted mind; rarely compromising, always fighting to the end, and wearing obstruction down in the belief of his own work, Storm rarely lost his way. The boy done good." For the full article, click here.
Finally, following on from David Gilmour's comments, Nick Mason's tribute to his old friend was posted on PinkFloyd.com. Nick said: "Scourge of management, record companies and album sleeve printers; champion of bands, music, great ideas and high, sometimes infuriatingly high, standards. Defender of art over commerce at all times, and tireless worker right up to the end. Two days before he passed away, and by then completely exhausted he was still demanding approval for art work and haranguing his loyal assistants.
"Dear friend to all of us, our children, our wives (and the exes). Endlessly intellectual and questioning. Breathtakingly late for appointments and meetings, but once there invaluable for his ideas, humour, and friendship. Irreplaceable and unforgettable, but leaving a wonderful legacy of ideas, film, writings and art work, Hipgnosis and Storm have contributed to so many musicians to engineer sums immeasurably greater than their parts."
It is with a very heavy heart that we bring you the sad news that Storm Thorgerson, a key part of Pink Floyd for most of their career, passed away this afternoon (Thursday, April 18th). His family said that "his ending was peaceful and he was surrounded by family and friends. He had been ill for some time with cancer though he had made a remarkable recovery from his stroke in 2003. He was in his 70th year."
He is survived by his mother Vanji, his son Bill, his wife Barbie Antonis and her two children Adam and Georgia. Our thoughts and condolences are with them and with his many friends across the world. From a personal perspective, in more recent years we had moved from being mere acquaintances, to friends, and I will really miss his wit, his kindness, his insight and his searching mind.
David Gilmour has made the following statement:
"We first met in our early teens. We would gather at Sheep's Green, a spot by the river in Cambridge and Storm would always be there holding forth, making the most noise, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. Nothing has ever really changed.
"He has been a constant force in my life, both at work and in private, a shoulder to cry on and a great friend.
"The artworks that he created for Pink Floyd from 1968 to the present day have been an inseparable part of our work.
We are very sad to report that Clive Welham passed away this afternoon. He had been ill for some time, and we understand his passing was peaceful.
In the 1960s Clive drummed for several Cambridge bands but is best known for his association with Albie Prior in the Ramblers [right], and David Gilmour in Jokers Wild, where David and Clive played alongside Tony Sainty on bass, and Dave Altham and Johnny Gordon on guitar. One of Clive's last public appearances was at the 2008 Roots of Cambridge Rock get-together.
Our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
It is with much regret that we bring you the sad news that Alan Styles, who for many years was a roadie for Pink Floyd, passed away yesterday (December 8th, 2011). Formerly from Cambridge, Alan had more recently moved to the USA, and his sister Ann said that he died peacefully in hospital there, and that he had been suffering from pneumonia. He was 75.
Alan (seen on the left in the accompanying picture) was well-known to Pink Floyd fans, with his biggest exposure being his vocal on the eponymous track found on 1970's Atom Heart Mother - 'Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast'. This track features the Floyd in the background, whilst Alan talks about the breakfast he is getting ready, reminiscing about other breakfasts he has had: "Breakfast in Los Angeles. Macrobiotic stuff..." Alan is also included on the cover of Ummagumma, and he assists Nick Mason on the Merry Xmas Song (also known as Here Comes Santa), which was aired on BBC radio.
Our condolences to his family and friends.
In an update to the above, the following video clip has now been released, showing Alan in 2000:
Yesterday (July 10th, 2011), Roland Petit, the world-renowned choreographer sadly passed away, aged 87. Well known for the wide ranging and creative nature of his projects, Pink Floyd fans will be familiar with his work due to the series of Floyd Ballets that they worked on together.
"It all began in the late '60s," explained Petit, the ballet's creator. "One day, my daughter, who must have been about 10 years old at the time, gave me an album by Pink Floyd and said, 'Dad, you have to make a ballet with this music. It's the best!' At first I was hesitant, but when I heard the music, I agreed with my daughter. So I went to England and met with Pink Floyd in person. I told them about my idea of making a ballet with their music and asked if they would agree. They were so enthusiastic about the idea that they even offered to play live at the world premiere!"
The premier performance took place in November 1972 with Pink Floyd themselves playing live before 32,000 spectators at the Palais des Sports in Marseilles. Since then, it has been presented around the globe, with great success - most recently in 2010. The following video gives a flavour of the original performances:
John Alldis, the distinguished choral conductor, passed away yesterday (December 20th) aged 81. His work was diverse - from establishing a permanent chorus for the London Symphony Orchestra, writing pantomime music, and working with the likes of Duke Ellington and Pink Floyd.
The 16-strong John Alldis Choir provided the memorable and at times haunting vocal soundtrack to Pink Floyd's 1970 work, Atom Heart Mother.
Alldis was nominated for Grammy Awards for his choral work in 1974 and 1978, and in 1994 was appointed Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
It was with sadness that we heard the news this week that Roger "The Hat" Manifold, a prominent and much loved roadie in the 1970s for Pink Floyd, Johnny Winter, and many others, passed away on October 31st, 2009. He got his famous nickname due to his habit of wearing a top hat (and other such headwear) during his roadie duties.
He is best known to Floyd fans as one of the more notable voices heard on The Dark Side Of The Moon, providing lines such as "Live for today; gone tomorrow. That's me!" and "I mean they're gonna kill you, so if you give them a short, sharp shock, they don't do it again.... I mean, good manners don't cost nothing, do they? Eh?"
The funeral service was held in West Norwood, London, yesterday. Our thoughts and condolences to his friends and family.