Martin Duffy: Primal Scream and Charlatans keyboardist dies at 55

Martin Duffy, who played keyboards for Primal Scream and The Charlatans, has died at the age of 55.

Duffy started out in cult 1980s indie band Felt before joining Primal Scream for their 1991 album Screamadelica.

He started performing with The Charlatans in 1996. Their singer Tim Burgess said his death was “another tragic loss of a beautiful soul”.

Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie described Duffy as a “soul brother” and a “very special character”.

‘The most musically talented’

He added: “He had a love and understanding of music on a deep spiritual level. Music meant everything to him…

“Martin was the most musically talented of all of us. His style combined elements of country, blues and soul, all of which he had a God given natural feel for.”

The singer continued: “Martin was also in possession of a unique wit. He had a swift eye for the absurd, the surreal and the ridiculous.

“He lived to laugh and play music. He was loved by all of us in the Scream. A beautiful soul. We will miss him.”

Martin Duffy on stage in 2019IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

The group’s bassist Simone Marie Butler added: “No words x i miss u already Duff. This is the saddest day and i’m [in] tears writing this. So loved x”

Birmingham-born Duffy played on every Primal Scream album and also featured on songs by Oasis, the Chemical Brothers and Beth Orton.

He had joined Felt at the age of 18 after answering an advert placed by the group’s frontman Lawrence that read: “Do You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star?”

He later became part of The Charlatans after their keyboardist Rob Collins died in a car crash, three weeks before they were due to be on the bill at Oasis’ famous Knebworth concerts in 1996.

“Martin Duffy stepped in to save The Charlatans when we lost Rob,” Burgess wrote.

“He played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend. He toured with me in my solo band too – he was a pleasure to spend time with. Safe travels Duffy.”

‘Our shining star’

Duffy also released a solo album on Burgess’ record label in 2014. He toured with Edwyn Collins and the Beta Band’s Steve Mason, and last performed live in October in an impromptu appearance with US band Pere Ubu.

Super Furry Animals singer Gruff Rhys was among the others paying tribute. He tweeted: “Martin Duffy’s music has been with me since the 1980s – sending all the best to Primal Scream & all his friends and family on this very sad day – going to put some of his instrumental records on.”

A family statement posted on Twitter by Duffy’s brother Steve, a BBC journalist, said: “Everyone who knew Martin loved him; he was the real deal, our shining star.”

Martin suffered a brain injury after a fall and died peacefully surrounded by family including his beloved son Louie, they said.

“He was loved by his mother, brothers, wider family and close friends.”

The message added: “He had a gift with music but even more of one with people. Love you Martin, proud of what you did and all you were. We’re with you brother xx”

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