How May has not been a good month for music

It hasn’t, has it? You may not have realised it but we lost some musical titans here.

Let’s start with a real headliner. Evangelos Odysseus Papathannassiou. No? How about his performing name, Vangelis? Now you got him.

Not anything I’d listen to generally by choice, but give the man his due. 50+ albums? No mean feat for somebody largely self taught.

We all know his name, we can all hum some of his meisterwerks. Chariots of Fire?  He scored that. You can certainly hum along to the score for the opening scene of athletes running on a beach. Ever seen Blade Runner? If not, you need to rectify that immediately. But not just for how it looks. The score is enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up then fall out.

OK, life a bit lower down the pecking order. Heard of Ricky Gardiner? I doubt it, though some of my hardcore rock musoes know who he is. Was. But even if you don’t know his name, you’ll likely know his work. Iggy Pop’s The Passenger, with one of the most instantly  recognisable opening riffs of all time? That was his.

The guitar work on Low,  Bowie’s first Berlin album? Hello Ricky. He moved in exalted circles. When he could no longer bear to work with Iggy Pop, Bowie replaced him on the next two Berlin albums, Heroes and Lodger, by such luminaries as Robert Fripp, Carlos Alomar, and Adrian Belew. He was a big hitter that you never heard of.

Ricky eschewed the glam rock/sleaze appearance. Dungarees with no shirt. He was Scots, of course.

Now a really obscure one. I knew who he was, but I’m sad. Ric Parnell. A drummer. He’d been around a bit. Did some work touring with Engelbert Humperdinck (not much to boast about), some studio sessions with Cher, he once turned down the chance to join Journey. Oops.

But his finest hour was his fabulous performance as Mick Shrimpton. Who? The drummer with Spinal Tap (the one who didn’t die in mysterious circumstances.) If you have never seen This Is Spinal Tap, I’m not sure we can be friends any longer.

Mick Shrimpton was deliciously underplayed compared with the OTT David St Hubbins, Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnell, and the wildly worrying Viv Savage.

Quote, and I love this. Spinal Tap was, ‘a real band of real musicians playing real music for real idiots… I mean people.’

Been a bad month, May.