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Dave Rowberry – Mapperley’s Pianist

David Eric Rowberry, the pianist and songwriter with rhythm and blues band The Animals, was born in Mapperley on 4th July 1940.

He studied at Newcastle University, and it was there that he got into blues and jazz music scene in the early 1960s. He joined The Mike Cotton Jazzmen (later The Mike Cotton Sound) in 1962, who made a living backing American blues and pop acts touring England, including Solomon Burke, Stevie Wonder, the Four Tops and Gene Pitney. Rowberry played on the group’s singles from 1962–1965, including their hit, “Swing That Hammer”, as well as their self-titled album.

Rowberry joined The Animals in 1965, after the original keyboard player Alan Price left the group, partly due to a fear of flying. According to lead singer Eric Burdon, Rowberry was chosen for his musicianship and due to his passing physical resemblance to Price.

27th May 1965, Pop Group “The Animals” at London Airport before departing for New York with new member Dave Rowberry (2nd from left)

Rowberry played many of the group’s big hits, including We Gotta Get Out of This Place, It’s My Life, Don’t Bring Me Down. On a number of songs, Rowberry was credited as the arranger. He also sang backing vocals and did occasional song writing for the group.

When the band split up in 1966, Rowberry became a session musician, playing on many albums by blues singer Dana Gillespie in the 1980s and 1990s.

He then reunited with some of the original members of The Animals and toured as Animals and Friends.

He died in June 2003 at the age of 62. The band had recently played a gig in South Shields on and were due to play in Poland the following weekend.

The New Musical Express reported that he was found dead in his east London flat by the band’s former bassist Jim Rodford. The group’s drummer John Steel said that the 62-year-old probably died of a heart attack.

 

 “He loved playing with the band… He loved the social life of being on the road, eating, drinking, having a good gig and meeting new people.” He added, “It’s great that he did it almost up to the last minute.”

John Steel (bandmate and drummer)

Many thanks to Wikipedia for collating the information:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Rowberry

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