Martin Duffy: Primal Scream and Felt keyboardist dies aged 55
Martin Duffy’s former Charlatans bandmate Tim Burgess shared the news of his death
Primal Scream and Felt keyboardist Martin Duffy has died at the age of 55.
Duffy’s former Charlatan’s bandmate Tim Burgess confirmed the news on Twitter as he paid tribute to his friend, describing him as a “beautiful soul”.
Burgess wrote: “Another tragic loss of a beautiful soul. Martin Duffy stepped in to save The Charlatans when we lost Rob - he played with us at Knebworth and was a true friend. He toured with me in my solo band too - he was a pleasure to spend time with. Safe travels Duffy.”
Birmingham-born Duffy became one of the original members of the indie band Felt in 1985 at the age of 16, after being recommended to frontman Lawrence Hayward.
Lawrence said he had put notices up in a Virgin Megastore in Birmingham advertising for a guitarist. The notice said “Do You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star?”.
The frontman recalled that he had just put two of the notices up when he was approached by someone who recommended Duffy, saying: “I know this keyboard player. He’s 16. He’s just left school”.
Duffy remained a member of Felt until their split in 1989, with his sound becoming central to the band in the mid-80s as they signed to Creation Records for the 1986 release The Seventeenth Century. On the second side of the band’s 1988 album The Pictorial Jackson Review, Duffy plays two instrumentals.
Burgess previously cited the album as proof that Duffy was “actually the only musical genius I have ever met… me and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields sat up all night once with open mouths praising his natural ability,” he told the Quietus.
Duffy went on to play keyboards on rock band Primal Scream’s first two albums - 1987’s Sonic Flower Groove and 1989’s self-titled - serving as a part-time member. He joined the band permanently after Felt disbanded at the end of 1989 and remained in Primal Scream for three decades.
Duffy also played with The Charlatans following the death of founding member Rob Collins, appearing with the group at Knebworth supporting Oasis in 1996. He also contributed keyboard parts to the band’s fifth album Tellin’ Stories along with Collins.
The keyboardist’s other music credentials include contributing to recordings by Heidi Berry, Beth Orton, Paul Weller and the Chemical Brothers, and releasing a solo album called Assorted Promenades in 2014.
No official statement has yet been made by Duffy’s family or Primal Scream.