Cotswolds Claims to Fame - Music

Edwin Ransford (1805–76), the popular 19th Century singer and composer, was born at Bourton-on-the-Water where he is also buried.
As well as playing lead roles in many London musical shows, Ransford was well known as a composer of songs and glees, and between 1835 and 1876 more than 50 published pieces bear his name.

 
The composer Gustav Holst was born in Cheltenham and as a young man was choirmaster of a village church in the Cotswolds.Gustav Holst (1874-1934), the English composer best known for his orchestral suite The Planets, was born in Cheltenham.
Holst was educated at Cheltenham Grammar School between 1886 and 1891 and obtained his first professional appointment, aged 17, as organist and choirmaster of St Laurence's Church, in the Cotswold village of Wyck Rissington, near Bourton-on-the-Water.Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1919 by William Rothenstein.
The post brought with it the conductorship of the Bourton-on-the-Water Choral Society, which offered no extra remuneration but provided valuable experience that enabled him to hone his conducting skills.
The Holst Birthplace Museum in Clarence Road, Cheltenham, tells the story of the man, his music and the creative and talented family into which he was born.
 

The Cotswold village of Down Ampney, near Cirencester, was the birthplace of the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) where his father, the Reverend Arthur Vaughan Williams, was vicar. A tune he composed, used for the hymn Come Down, O Love Divine, is titled Down Ampney in its honour.
 

Cheltenham-born Brian Jones, original leader of The Rolling Stones, pictured in 1965.Lewis Brian Hopkin-Jones, better known as Brian Jones, the multi-instrumentalist and original leader of The Rolling Stones, was born in The Park Nursing Home, Cheltenham, in 1942.
Jones attended various local schools, including Cheltenham Grammar School for Boys, before becoming a founder member of the Stones in 1962.
Jones suffered a downward spiral and was eventually asked to leave the Rolling Stones in 1969. Less than a month later, at around midnight on July 3, 1969, he was found dead in the swimming pool of his home in Sussex. After a funeral service in St Mary's Church, he was buried at Cheltenham Cemetery.
Cheltenham commemorated its famous son in November 2005 when The “Golden Boy” bronze bust of Brian Jones was unveiled in Cheltenham's Beechwood Shopping Centre.


Keith Moon, drummer of The Who and one-time owner of a Chipping Norton inn, pictured in 1975 three years before his death.KJohn Entwistle, former bassist with The Who, who owned a mansion near Stow-on-the-Wold for 27 years.eith Moon (1946-1978), the legendary drummer of the English rock group The Who, who died of an overdose in 1978, was once the owner of the Crown & Cushion in Chipping Norton High Street.Originally a 15th Century coaching inn, the Crown & Cushion is now a 40-bedroom hotel.

Another Cotswold connection with The Who can be found at Quarwood, a Victorian mansion in Lower Swell, near Stow-on-the-Wold, which was owned for 27 years by John Entwistle, the band's former bassist.
Entwistle and his wife Alison bought the 55-room property as a weekend retreat in 1976. He installed two recording studios in the house which he occupied until his death in 2002 in a Las Vegas hotel room on June 27, 2002, aged 57.
His funeral was held at St Edward's Church, Stow, on July 10, 2002.

 
Cozy Powell pictured in 1990 as a member of Black Sabbath.Another legendary rock drummer, Cozy Powell (1947-1998) was born in Cirencester.
Having started playing drums at the age of 12 in the school orchestra, he went on to make his name with major rock bands such as The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath.
Born Colin Flooks, as a boy Cozy started playing along in his spare time to popular singles of the day and the first band he was in, The Corals, played each week at the youth club in Cirencester.
At the age of 15 he had already worked out an impressive drum solo. The stage name 'Cozy' was borrowed from the jazz drummer Cozy Cole.
Powell died on April 5, 1998, following a car accident while driving his Saab 9000 in bad weather on the M4 motorway near Bristol.

 
The former Chipping Norton Recording Studios in New Street.Between 1972 and 1999, some of the most famous music acts of the time recorded a string of chart hits in Chipping Norton. The former British Schools building at 28/30 New Street was home to Chipping Norton Recording Studios.
Among the famous songs recorded there were Bye Bye Baby by the Bay City Rollers; Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty; In The Army Now by Status Quo; Too Shy by Kajagoogoo; I Should Have Known Better by Jim Diamond; and Perfect by Fairground Attraction.
Jeff Beck, Barbara Dickson, Duran Duran, Wet Wet Wet, Marianne Faithfull, Alison Moyet, Radiohead and XTC also used the studio, which closed in October 1999.


Jet Black playing with The Stranglers at the 2006 Beastival.The drummer Jet Black (born Brian John Duffy in 1938 in Essex) was a founder member of punk rock/New Wave band The Stranglers. Black was also a successful businessman up until the mid-1970s and among his enterprises he owned a fleet of ice cream vans. Now in his 70s, he lives in the Cotswold town of Tetbury where he reportedly designs and builds wooden furniture.
 
 
Robin Gibb wrote a song about his youthful days in Shipston-on-Stour.Shipston-on-Stour, the market town situated at the northern end of the Cotswolds, was commemorated by Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees in the song Cold be my Days on his 1970 solo album Sing Slowly Sisters, which was never released.
The first lyrics are "Cold be my days in Shipston-on-Stour". Gibb stated in a BBC Radio 4 interview in May 2007 that this related to his youthful experiences riding on a horse in south Warwickshire with his brother Barry.
The style of the song is in stark contrast to the upbeat disco tunes the Bee Gees became famous for.
Gibb, who had suffered from cancer, died on May 20, 2012, at the age of 62.
The radio and television presenter Paul Gambaccini has described him as "one of the major figures in the history of British music and one of the best white soul voices ever".


The late Gerry Rafferty pictured in 1980.Gerry Rafferty (1947-2011), the Scottish singer-songwriter best known for his solo hits such as Baker Street and Stuck in the Middle with You, was one of the many stars to record material in the Cotswolds at Chipping Norton Recording Studios. Rafferty died of liver failure at his daughter Martha's home in Stroud on January 4, 2011.

 
Blur bassist Alex James, who now farms in the Cotswolds, also wrote the music to Vindaloo by Fat Les. Fat Les, the British band responsible for the cult football song Vindaloo, which reached number two in the UK singles chart in June 1998, has a trio of Cotswold connections.
The lyrics were written by comedian, musician and actor Keith Allen (father of Lily Allen), who has a home near Minchinhampton.
The music was written by Blur bassist Alex James, who now makes cheese at his farm near Kingham in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, where he also annually hosts The Big Festival with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
Fat Les also includes the artist Damien Hirst, who has several studios in the Stroud area, and also owns Toddington Manor, near Winchcombe.
Vindaloo was originally written as a parody of football chants, but was adopted as one in its own right and became a cult classic.
Following its release it was beaten to the number one spot by Three Lions '98 by David Baddiel and Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds, a re-release of football anthem Three Lions from 1996 with slightly altered lyrics.
 

Stroud-based band Pendragon pictured at a concert in 2010.Pendragon are a neo-progressive rock band established in 1978 in Stroud, originally called Zeus Pendragon.
The Zeus was dropped before the band started recording as the members decided it was too long to look good on a T-shirt.
While they are still relatively obscure in their home country, they have a significant following in Europe, particularly in Poland, and have released at least one compilation specifically for the Polish market and also recorded several live albums there.
Although there were a few personnel changes in the early days, since 1986 the line-up has remained relatively stable and the band is still active.
 

Wilderspin, another Stroud band, produced a 2012 song and video about their home town in response to the town's portrayal on the BBC's Countryfile programme.
The folk/country/rock band produced Stroud Life, a six-minute musical video paying tribute to the people who live and work in Stroud.
The video features some iconic Stroud scenes and won a local Community TV award for best music video of 2012.
The video was made after Countryfile featured Stroud in a programme which focused on some of the town's more "idiosynchratic" characters.
© Loving The Cotswolds. 2017.