This year’s sweep of the great and the good, the famous and the talented, continues unabated. The latest to pass on, at the age of 73, is Andy Newman, better known as Thunderclap, for his heavy-handed piano style.
You know which record I’m thinking of, of course. Something in the Air. Lock up the streets and houses. Speedy Keen, Thunderclap Newman and Jimmy McCulloch, plus Bijou Drains, who played bass and arranged the strings, and brought together a roadie/chauffeur, a GPO Engineer and a 15 year old guitar hero.
McCulloch died in 1979, aged 26, of heart failure brought on by morphine and alcohol abuse. Keen died in 2002, aged 56, also of heart failure, after years of problems with arthritis. And now Newman, aged 73, through causes undisclosed, has followed his two colleagues.
They were never really a band, just an artificial assemblage created as a vehicle for Speedy Keen’s songs. I tell myself that. And then I listen to Something in the Air again, and I don’t give a damn. Once upon a time they recorded that, and now there are none of them left. I don’t want to think of that now. I want them to still be as they were. When this was.
Hand out the arms and ammo, we’re gonna blast our way through here…