David Longdon, the frontman and multi-instrumentalist of British progressive rock band Big Big Train, has died at the age of 56.
Longdon died in a Nottingham hospital on November 20 following an accident, the group said in a statement. No other details were shared.
Bassist and band founder Greg Spawton said: “It is unspeakably cruel that a whim of fate in the early hours of yesterday morning has deprived him and his loved ones of a happy future together. and all the opportunities, both personal and musical, that awaited him next year and beyond.
Steve Hackett, former Genesis guitarist, homage paid to Longdon: “He was a lovely guy and he had a wonderful voice. It sounded a fabulous song on the vocal version of [Hackett’s song] Spectral mornings. Neal Morse progressive rock band Spock’s Beard, band Marillion and Geoffrey Downes of Yes were also among those who paid tribute to him.
Big Big Train formed in Bournemouth in 1990. When singer Sean Filkins and drummer Steve Hughes left the band in 2009, Longdon joined Nick D’Virgilio, then drummer for Spock’s Beard.
“It’s like we’ve known each other for years,” he told Dusk. “Creative ideas flow quickly between us and we are old enough to understand that there is something very special not only about the music we make, but also the chemistry between us. “
He described joining the group as a turning point. “Until I joined Big Big Train in 2009, I didn’t think the music was going to happen,” he told Northern Life. “You get to a certain point and you’re like ‘OK, that’s it, it’s all gone!’ “
Their 2009 album The Underfall’s Yard marked Longdon’s first record appearance with the band. In 2019, he won the Male Vocalist of the Year award in the Prog Magazine Reader Survey for his work on the Big Big Train Grand Tour album.
Their latest album, this year’s Common Ground, was about realizing how much we need others, he told Progarchy. “How we are not islands; we are sociable creatures. We need each other to a greater or lesser extent; we depend on each other.
Longdon is also featured on Big Big Train’s upcoming album Welcome to the Planet, which is slated for release in January 2022. The band said Longdon was working on a new solo album at the time of his death.
Born in Nottingham, Longdon grew up listening to classical music, country and opera. The discovery of the Who at the age of nine inspired him to start writing his own music. He has played keyboards, six- and 12-string acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, transverse flute, mandolin, accordion, percussion, dulcimer and psaltery.
He has formed a number of groups, including O ‘Strange Passion and The Gift Horse, and performed in the group of French pop chamber musician Louis Philippe. In 1996, he unsuccessfully auditioned to be the lead singer of Genesis following the departure of Phil Collins.
In addition to recording with Big Big Train, Longdon has released solo albums and has also collaborated with The Charlatans, the progressive rock group Tangent and Sound of Contact co-founder Dave Kerzner.
In 2020, Longdon and Fairport Convention singer Judy Dyble collaborated as Dyble Longdon on the album Between a Breath and a Breath, released shortly after Dyble’s death from lung cancer.
Longdon described the project as “a serious undertaking” given his state of health and his knowledge that this would likely be his last recording: “I’m proud of it; I think some of the songs I’ve worked on with Judy are some of my best work.
Longdon is survived by his partner, Sarah Ewing, and his daughters Amelia and Eloise. In an interview this summer, Longdon recalled writing Big Big Train Common Ground’s new song about meeting Ewing after a period of personal uncertainty, in the chalk hills and among the standing stones of Avebury in Wiltshire.
“We were standing in front of this monument at a time when we realized we would be reuniting as a couple,” he told Progarchy. “This time in my life – I am now 56 years old. It’s time to get started, because we don’t have forever! … It is not a question of “will we find it?” It’s, ‘You better find him and move on, because… we don’t get along forever.’ “
The group said they would release a new statement on their 2022 concerts – including their long-delayed debut U.S. tour – and other activities in due course.