Martin Duffy, Primal Scream and Charlatans Keyboardist, Dies at 55

Primal Scream keyboardist Martin Duffy has died, his former Charlatans bandmate Tim Burgess confirmed Tuesday. He was 55.

Creation Records founder Alan McGee, who signed Primal Scream in the 1980s, suggested that Duffy died on Monday. “More sad news,” McGee wrote in an Instagram post Tuesday. “Martin Duffy gone yesterday. Lovely guy so sad.” Duffy’s cause of death is unclear.

Born and raised in Birmingham in England’s West Midlands, Duffy joined the indie rock band Felt at the age of 16 in 1985. He remained in that band until its break-up in 1989, joining the Primal Scream line-up full-time that year. Duffy had contributed to Primal Scream’s first two records but was a fully-fledged member of the band for their 1991 album Screamadelica which catapulted them into mainstream success and critical acclaim.

In 1993, while on tour with the band in New York, Duffy was stabbed in a bar by a stranger. The blade narrowly missed his kidney, according to The Observer, and he lay slumped on a table until a barman noticed that he was bleeding.

After the Charlatans’ keys player Rob Collins died in a car crash in 1996, Duffy stepped in to help the band finish their fifth album Tellin’ Stories, released in 1997. He also played with the Charlatans when they supported Oasis at their famous 1996 Knebworth concert.

Over the course of his career, Duffy also collaborated with the likes of Paul Weller and the Chemical Brothers, and he worked on the soundtrack for the 2018 film Wild Rose.

Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess once called Duffy “the only musical genius I have ever met.” Reflecting on his loss on Tuesday, Burgess tweeted: “Another tragic loss of a beautiful soul. Martin Duffy stepped in to save The Charlatans when we lost Rob—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.”

“RIP Duffy,” Oasis singer Liam Gallagher tweeted Tuesday. “Primal Scream d’ya know what I mean.” Cherry Red Records—the label which signed Felt before Creation—said in a statement: “We’re sad to hear the news that Martin Duffy has passed away. An amazing musician who made incredible contributions to every album he played on, he will be missed. A true rock ‘n’ roll star.”

News of Duffy’s death comes the day after it was revealed on Monday that The Specials singer, Terry Hall, had died aged 63 after a “brief illness.”

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