Music

Kevin Coyne 1944–2004

by

I’ve just heard that Kevin Coyne has died.
He’d been suffering for some time from a debilitating and complicated condition, resulting in fibrositis of the lungs.

As well as having been a great singer-songwriter, he was an author, a painter-cartoonist of renown, and a droll storyteller. Anyone who saw his show at the New Roscoe a few weeks back would have thought he was at his peak. He played a blinder, even though he was breathing with the aid of an oxygen cylinder. Brendan Croker, who was there, said today, “We were privileged!”

Kevin was one of the great British characters, yet Britain didn’t recognize it, so he went to live in Germany, where he was appreciated. It says a lot for his talent that when Jim Morrison died, Kevin was offered his job in the Doors, and he turned them down. John Peel noticed the extra magic that set Kevin apart from the rest and signed his band, Siren, to Dandelion records.
“Marjorie Razorblade” was an oft played track on Peelie’s show in the early ’70s.

I promoted Kevin several times but felt frustrated because I could never bring in the crowd he deserved. That’s the problem with Britain—we don’t support our true originals until they are departed.

What’s the betting that there will now be glowing eulogies in the papers and magazines that largely ignored him?

Rest in peace, Kevin.