English keyboardist, singer and songwriter Dave Greenfield died on Sunday as a result of complications of the coronavirus. He was 71.
The musician was best known as the keyboardist for U.K. punk band The Stranglers. He played with the band for 45 years and co-wrote its biggest hit, Golden Brown (1981). The single won them an Ivor Novello award, according to Rolling Stone.
Greenfield died on the evening of May 3, one week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus. He spent a short while in a hospital after suffering “heart problems,” according to a statement on the Stranglers website.
After pursuing a music career in Germany, joining bands such as The Initials, The Blue Maxi, Rusty Butler and Credo, Greenfield officially joined The Stranglers in 1975, replacing keyboardist Hans Wärmling, who died in 1995.
In the statement, Greenfield’s bandmates and manager described him as “a lovable, friendly and eccentric character who always had time to chat.” They each offered their own tributes to their late friend.
Bassist Jean-Jacques (J.J.) Burnel wrote: “On the evening of Sunday May 3rd my great friend and longstanding colleague of 45 years, the musical genius that was Dave Greenfield, passed away as one of the victims of the Great Pandemic of 2020.”
“We have just lost a dear friend and music genius, and so has the whole world. Dave was a complete natural in music. A huge talent, a great loss, he is dearly missed,” wrote drummer Jet Black.
“We lost a true innovator, musical legend, and one of my dearest friends today,” wrote guitarist Baz Warne. “The word genius is bandied around far too easily in this day and age, but Dave Greenfield certainly was one.
“We stood together on the same side of the stage for 20 years, laughed, joked and shared our lives in the way that only band mates can. I’ll miss him forever.”
Burnel, Warne and Greenfield shared vocal duties while on tour.
In wake of the news, musicians and friends took to social media expressing both their grief and fond memories of Greenfield.
Included in the list was Billy Idol, Black Francis of the Pixies, Echo and the Bunnymen, Captain Sensible of fellow U.K. punk outfit The Damned, and Greenfield’s Stranglers bandmate, guitarist/vocalist Hugh Cornwell.
“[Greenfield] should be remembered as the man who gave the world the music of Golden Brown,” wrote Cornwell, 70.
Here’s what the other musicians had to say
“Today we honor the music and life of Dave Greenfield,” he wrote. “He was a brilliant songwriter and performer, and we thank him and The Stranglers for their inspiration, contribution, songs and attitude.”
Stranglers manager Sil Willcox said on the band’s website that it was a “privilege” to have known and worked with Greenfield.
“We are all in shock, Dave was a kind, generous soul who had time for anyone and everyone and it has been my privilege to have known him as both a close friend, his tech and manager for over 40 years.”
Greenfield was born on March 29, 1949, in Brighton, England. He is survived by his wife Pam.
The Stranglers were set to play a handful of European festival dates this summer before embarking on a full U.K. tour between October and November. It is currently unclear if the band is still scheduled to play those shows.
For more information about Greenfield or the Stranglers, you can visit the band’s official website.
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