He was one of the most respectable English drummers, one of the most amiable, and one of the most heroic, Jimmy Copley, who died last night, aged 63. Copley’s battle with leukemia and the recent, despite his state, recording of the “Live On Through The Music” single – a charity action – made Jimmy an unlikely spotlight dweller lately, but it wasn’t it that brought the veteran to the hearts of many. A string of famous friends, from Jeff Beck to Tony Iommi, whose pilgrimage to a Bristol hospital during Copley’s final days cheered him up, gives but an inkling of the love fans and colleagues alike had for Jimmy.
He was immensely versatile, and felt as easy providing steady beat for Paul Rodgers’ blues rock as he did spicing up clever pop for TEARS FOR FEARS or, at the very beginning of his career, or stacking fusion figures with UPP. Jimmy played with the latter in the ’70s when Beck, a friend of Copley’s father, discovered him and not only became the band’s producer but also invited them to back him on TV. After that, Jimmy’s rhythms became an in-demand thing, and he could be heard with the likes of GO WEST and MAGNUM, THE PRETENDERS and KILLING JOKE, Seal and MANFRED MANN‘S EARTH BAND – the artists that had no other common factor. Then, there was a star-studded solo album “Slap My Hand” and supergroup THE BAD APPLES where Jimmy basically served as a leader… And there could be much more great tracks, yet there won’t be.
We were in touch and planned to do an interview one day – which never came. Rest in peace, Jimmy.