Seventies rocker Gerry Conway dies aged 76 with Cat Stevens leading tributes

Seventies rocker Gerry Conway dies aged 76 with Cat Stevens leading tributes

Gerry Conway has died aged 76 with heartfelt tributes pouring in (Picture: Getty)

Gerry Conway, drummer for British rock band Fairport Convention, has died aged 76 after a battle with motor neurone disease.

His bandmates confirmed he died on March 29, 2024, calling him ‘unique’ and ‘impressive’ during his music career.

Throughout Conway’s life he played with icons like Cat Stevens and progressive rock band Jethro Tull, as well as being Fairport’s drummer from 1998 to 2022.

‘He brought to the band an impeccable understanding of “feel” and comradeship, a unique sense of subtlety and a complete understanding of what was required,’ wrote the band on their website.

Conway had hung up his drumsticks two years ago after being diagnosed with MND, which impacts the control of muscles and weakens them.

Cat Stevens, 75, lead the tributes having worked with Conway for over three decades both on tour and in the studio.

He was a beloved drummer and friend of Cat Stevens (Picture: Steve Thorne/Redferns)

Conway played drums for Fairport Convention(Picture: Steve Thorne/Redferns)

‘Sadly my great old drummer, Gerry Conway just passed away,’ he shared.

‘What a lad, and what ingenuity and style. May God grant him the beautiful reward of peace everlasting.’ 

Conway has taught himself drums at an early age, staring in school bands and catching the eye of London band Chico Arnéz Orchestra at just 16.

His parents forbade him from joining but the determined rocker landed a job at EMI record label and honed his skills alongside other musicians.

In the tribute on the website, Fairport continued: ‘Gerry’s impressive musical CV began long before he joined Fairport. He came to prominence as drummer and percussionist with Cat Stevens, both in the studio and in live performance. 

‘As well as his tenure with Pentangle from 1986 to 1993 (then with Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle until 2022) he was also admired for his work with Fotheringay and Jethro Tull.

Two years ago he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (Picture: Alamy)

‘His name spread far and wide and was the envy of his peers. Fairport Convention’s thoughts and condolences are with Gerry’s partner Jacqui and the family.’ 

Along with this, bandmate Simon Nicolls added: ‘Wonderfully patient and wise, infuriatingly tardy but always ready and eager to play, and blessed with his own inner calm and solidity.

‘I’m going to miss him more than I can say.’ 

Former Fairport member Iain Matthews said: ‘Gerry is gone and I don’t know how I feel, except intensely sad. I knew him less than many [in the Fairport circle] but we went wayyy back.

‘He played incredibly on my first solo album, If You Saw Thro’ My Eyes… pure Gerry Energy and spirit.’

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