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Old Jul-02-2008, 10:32 AM
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Icon49 Pals in harmony as Mel slips away

Tributes flowed in today to Cannock guitarist Mel Galley, of Whitesnake and Trapeze, who has died of cancer aged 60.

The former Whitesnake and Trapeze songwriter and guitar star was given only weeks to live in February, but stated his determination to enjoy life to the end and use the time to say goodbye to all his friends.

"No negativity" was his watchword to anyone who appeared to him even the slightest bit saddened at his plight.

Galley slipped quietly away last night at his home in Bank Street, Heath Hayes, nursed by his wife Annette, having said a last goodbye to his Trapeze co-star Glenn Hughes a week ago.

His friend, TV star Chris Evans, was among those who attended his 60th birthday party earlier this year.

He said today: "He was a fine man, never knowingly besmirched by anyone.

"Not a bad bone in his body, and annoyingly good at tennis. We’ve lost a good one there."

Hughes, formerly of Deep Purple, said today: "He was my oldest, closest friend, bandmate and brother.

"He gave me the inspiration and foundation to a life beyond my wildest dreams - he gave me hope, laughter and wisdom. His legacy is safe with me, from Coast To Coast."

Moody Blues star Justin Hayward, with whom Mel played in The Blue Jays, said: "Mel’s quiet, laconic humour and infectious smile brought real warmth into my life.

"His contribution as a musician and friend was immeasurable, as it was in the Blue Jays touring band of the mid-seventies.

"Our times together are magical memories for me.

"Some people possess the quality of true timelessness, and Mel is one of the few who the years never seemed to change."

Bass player John Lodge, also of the Moody Blues and Blue Jays, said: "From our first recording sessions together, his enthusiasm and his passion shone through, and it was a true pleasure to be part of his life.

"His songwriting and his melodious rock guitar playing will be his legacy. Mel, your music lives on."

The musician’s manager Tony Perry said: "Mel was a superb musician and a true friend.

"It has been a great pleasure and a wonderful experience to have been involved in his career for so many years.

"His outlook on life and his courage will remain with me forever. I will miss him greatly."

Tony’s daughter, TV star Suzi Perry, said: "Mel was the kind of person that you just wanted to be around - warm, generous, and very talented.

"He owned a wonderful sense of humour, and time spent with him was always fun.

"As a child growing up, he was my rock star hero, and as an adult he was the perfect and coolest godfather.

"Mel was very easy to love, and that’s why he will be missed by everyone who came into his life." Maurice Jones, organiser of Live Aid, said: "The man was a gentleman of rock and roll, and he contributed the music that will last forever."

One of his best friends, Express & Star artist John Hackney, 61, said: "He was a brilliant musician who brought a lot of joy to a lot of people, both through his music and as a person. He was a gentleman - a true gentleman."

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Old Jul-02-2008, 6:04 PM
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Icon34 Modest rocker Mel Galley remembered

Modest rocker Mel Galley remembered

It took me a while to discover the real Mel Galley, writes John Ogden.

I’d thrilled to his playing in Finders Keepers and Trapeze - even more so when I often played congas with the latter band, and nightly appreciated his technique, originality, and above all the emotion in his music.

But it wasn’t until the band seemed doomed, with the departure of Glenn Hughes to Deep Purple, that I truly appreciated his qualities as a man.

Likeable, modest, and shy, Mel stepped up to become the leader of the band, forcing himself to take on the responsibilities of that role, making the decisions, taking charge on the road, and succeeding beyond everyone’s expectations.

But this act of courage was dwarfed by his struggles against a series of misfortunes in his later life, not least his reaction to the shock news that he had only a few weeks left to live. He instantly determined to celebrate his life by saying a personal farewell to all his pals, but was astonished by the number of stars and well-wishers who phoned him up or made a pilgrimage to his two HQs in Cannock, the Park Gate and the Talbot. Here, cared for and supported by his wife Annette, he cheerfully held court as the stories and reminiscences flowed.

Mel’s versatility and virtuosity truly came to the fore in the three-piece Trapeze. To the heavy, riff-laden rock which came scorching from their first album, Medusa, he produced an irresistible funkiness for the follow-up, You Are The Music, We’re Just The Band, and also proved he could play sweetly enough to tempt the Sirens from their rock, given half a chance. When Glenn quit, Mel not only kept Trapeze together, recruiting Pete Wright on bass and Rob Elcock on guitar, to join him and drummer Dave Holland, he also replaced the man dubbed “The Voice Of Rock,” as a singer - a task way beyond most - and did it ably enough to please old-established fans and see the band through several more albums.

Record success eluded the band, however, and Mel, Dave, and Trapeze founder member Terry Rowley became Justin Hayward and John Lodge’s Blue Jays for their only tour, before Dave joined Judas Priest and Mel was recruited into Whitesnake by long-time admirer David Coverdale.

It was Mel’s great regret that Trapeze missed out on fame in their own right. All three musicians went on to world renown, and Mel’s playing and song writing (at first in tandem with his brother Tom, and later with Coverdale) helped make Whitesnake one of the top five bands of the 1980s.

Soon after the band headlined the Donington Monsters of Rock Festival, he was larking about in a street in Germany, and badly smashed his left arm, and back in England he contracted a virus which rapidly ate away the nerves in the injured limb. He battled back with the help of prosthetics specialist Andrew Collins, of Walsall Manor Hospital, who devised a special brace - referred to as The Claw.

Mel told me: "Going to the Manor did me good in another way, because I was feeling so sorry for myself. Then I saw two young kids; one had lost one leg and the other two legs, and they were really putting an effort into walking again. It was a lovely wake-up call.’"

But there was a new blow when he returned to Whitesnake: he was fired because, he was told, the brace went against the band’s image. He teamed up with fellow ex-Whitesnakers Bernie Marsden and Neil Murray to form MGM, and the brace, highlighted on TV, led to other injured musicians getting help and inspiration to play again.

When MGM split, Mel guested on several people’s albums. Sadly he returned to Cannock disillusioned with the industry.

Apart from a Trapeze reunion which saw two acclaimed sell-out gigs at the Robin R&B Club, Brierley Hill, in 1994, followed by a short American tour to mark the re-release of their Threshhold albums, Mel did very little playing, and later lost confidence altogether. But last year, in the small hours of the morning, he picked up a guitar and began to play again, and later did two numbers to a sell-out audience at the Tackeroo Club near his home.

He leaves Annette, drummer Mark, his son by his first wife Jane, and another son Lucas, a fine guitarist.

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Old Jul-03-2008, 10:15 AM
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Andrew Steed Andrew Steed is offline

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When Glenn quit, Mel not only kept Trapeze together, recruiting Pete Wright on bass and Rob Elcock on guitar

I think that should be Rob Kendrick.
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Old Jul-03-2008, 10:31 AM
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Thanks Andrew, I got it changed for later editions.
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Old Jul-06-2008, 1:11 AM
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captmidnite1962 captmidnite1962 is offline

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Icon34 Old friends..

I always flash on that picture of John Ogden playing congas with Trapeze...I think it was on the Robert Ellis website...so who better to write a few words about Mel?

Succinct and to the point....a bit like Mel himself!

But the greatest thing for me is that Mel learned just how many people loved his music and remembered Trapeze; given his modest manner, he must have been VERY flattered!

I am so happy that Mel got his props and got to play that last show....And he took the raw deal that fate dealt him and made the very best of the situation.

Let us celebrate the life of Mel Galley.

captmidnite1962's Sig:Yours In The Funk
Bill "Capt. Midnite" Redford


"Cause if you fake the FUNK..your nose got to grow!" Bootsy Collins
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