Del Newman Passed Away

Regular classic rock aficionados may not know it but they’re very familiar with the oeuvre of the immensely talented Del Newman who died on August 10th. The sweeping strings on Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” and Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”, on TEN YEARS AFTER’s “I’d Love To Change The World” and “People in Love” by 10CC, on a couple of songs on Harry Nilsson’s “Son Of Schmilsson” as well as “Tea For The Tillerman” and a few more Cat Stevens classics: it was all him, arranging and conducting various orchestras for various artists. Del was said to be holding the baton on WINGS’ “Live And Let Die” and “Band On The Run” which is a testament of George Martin’s respect for him, and also worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Charles Aznavour; and he also appeared on Eurovision to elevate Alan Sorrenti’s “Non so che darei” in 1980. No mean feat for a black Englishman who started out in the ’60s helping shape Gordon Giltrap’s debut LP and became part of pop music’s very fabric.

Carly Simon and Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and Leo Sayer, Shirley Bassey and Mark Almond: the list of musicians Newman collaborated with is impressive. He scored movies and was a producer, too, standing behind Scott Walker’s “Stretch” – on which Del placed his own piece “Someone Who Cared” – and records by Brian Protheroe and Rosemary Clooney. His magic can be heard on Tommy Bolin’s “Private Eyes” and “The Butterfly Ball” by Roger Glover, on FAMILY gems and STEEL PULSE’s riddims, showing he knew no genre boundaries. This means that this great artist may be gone now yet his legacy lives on. Think of him next time you hear George Harrison’s “Blow Away”…

Sleep well, maestro.

August 10, 2020

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