By George Matlock
The late Elton producer Gus Dudgeon would have been 60 years old today, September 30, 2002.
Celebrities and friends of Gus turned out to celebrate a birthday the way he would have wanted it: with a party.
About 80 people packed into the venue, the Kashmir Klub in London, which Gus used to frequent, and the intimacy of Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club resonated between the tables and chairs.
Singers Annabel Lamb and Kiki Dee came on stage with pianist Tony Moore who knew Gus for 3 years, and opened the show after 9pm with Rocket Man.
Then came Paul French and Paul Hersch – with a song recorded in 1980, Cling to Me. French sang, Hersch played piano. It was the song Gus and Sheila had danced to the morning of their tragic departure from a party at Chris Hook’s 50th birthday party in Newbury, England in July. The song was also played as their coffins were led out of the church their funeral service.
Producer Stuart Epps came on stage. He said: “Gus and Sheila didn’t have a big family, but we are a family to them.”
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Kiki and Carmello Luggieri dedicated another Elton song to Gus and Sheila – Sixty Years On, with Kiki at keyboards Carmello on accoustic guitar, with Sitars for special effects.
They were then joined by Pandit Dinesh on percussion on a couple of songs Kiki did with Gus. Back on stage was Lamb, song called Healing.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart was next as Lamb exited the stage. “I used to lie to the media that Elton and I recorded this song together. He was in America, I was here!” said Kiki.
She said she had rekindled her friendship with Gus in past few years, having not seen him since the 1970s.
Taken from her latest album Where Rivers Meet, Kiki performed Goodbye And Amen and Under the Night Sky. “Gus saw us on several gigs recently and said: ‘You haven’t got a commercial chance in hell, but well done for branching out and doing your own thing,'” said Kiki.
Lamb rejoined for Under the Night Sky.
A new song, Life, seemed poignant. “It’s a celebration of life, just like Gus,” Kiki said.
Tony Moore rejoined – on keyboards for Frank Sinatra‘s It was a Very Good Year, a staple of Kiki and Carmello’s tour repertoire.
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, the U2 song, as next.
“I worked with Gus on I Got the Music In Me and I had Whitney Houston’s mother on backing vocals!” said Kiki.
Bias Bochell, who wrote the song and was the piano player on this landmark rocker, and Roger Pope on drums, joined a total of seven people on stage including Kiki to finish the line-up with that great song.
And you always thought that was Elton on the piano!
Dave Dicks was on the mix. The show ended at 1030pm.
Afterwards, the audience mingled, recalling Gus and his heyday, a day that lasted a lifetime.
Exclusively for our Citizens: photos with permission of Judy Totton
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