Tributes are paid to rock legend

James Tappy Wright.

James Tappy Wright.

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Tributes have been paid to a popular roadie who has worked with some of musics greats.

Rock tour company TyneIdols is mourning the loss of two great friends in the space of one day – James ‘Tappy’ Wright and Craig Gill.

Whitley Bay resident and frequent guest and honorary crewmate James passed away after a spell in hospital.

He started off as road manager with The Animals, becoming right hand man to Chas Chandler, and went on to look after Jimi Hendrix, Slade, Ike and Tina Turner, Gene Vincent, Peter Noone amongst others.

When Ray Laidlaw and Paul Irwin created TyneIdols in order to produce music heritage tours on Tyneside they hooked up with ‘Tappy’ to join their music tours and bring his rock ‘n’ roll tales to the tours.

Paul “I’d known Tappy from my younger days playing in bands so when Ray and I started with TyneIdols we knew that Tappy and his anecdotes would be right at home with us.

“We would call in to Newcastle City Hall on our tours and Tappy would sit on the stage with our tour guests on stage too.

“They would be absolutely spellbound listening to reminisces of his travels around the world, looking after and meeting what I can only term as ‘music legends’.

“As Eric Burdon of the Animals said ‘A good road manager is as important as a good lead singer. Tappy Wright was the best in the business’.”

“Tappy enjoyed telling us all about his fantastic experiences and we genuinely loved to listen, in fact we couldn’t get enough.

“It’s very sad that we won’t be hearing those tales any more but we feel very privileged to have been friends. Our thoughts right now are with his family and friends who, like us, will miss him dearly.”

After being told about the sad loss of Tappy, a few hours later the news came that Craig Gill, creator of TyneIdols’ North West equivalent, Manchester Music Tours, as well as drummer for The Inspiral Carpets, had also passed away aged only 44.

Ray said: “Last time Paul and I were in London for a Britain Rocks AGM we swapped notes on music heritage and tours in general with Craig over a few pints.

“He was a lovely lad, full of enthusiasm for life and for sharing the music history of his city, Manchester, for which he was a true ambassador.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and Manchester music fans.”