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Rock musician John Miles, guitarist for Tina Turner and more, dies aged 72

Miles was best known for his 1976 hit 'Music', and for his work as a highly-respected session musician

By Patrick Clarke

John Miles performing live on stage
John Miles performing in 2017 (Photo: Sven Mandel / Commons)

Musician John Miles, best known for the ballad ‘Music’ and his work with the likes of Tina Turner and Jimmy Page, has died aged 72.

“We are devastated to have to announce that ‘Mr Music’ John Miles sadly passed away peacefully after a very short illness,” a statement posted by Miles’ family to his official Facebook page read.

“He was a loving Husband, Father and Grandfather and we will all miss him more than any words could ever express. We kindly ask you to respect our privacy at this extremely difficult time. He will live on forever in our hearts and with the wonderful musical legacy he has left behind.

Echoing the lyrics of ‘Music’, it concluded: “You were our first love and will be our last. Our Husband, Father, Grandfather and hero. We Love you.”

His manager told The Daily Mirror that Miles died in his sleep in Newcastle: “John was not only so kind and gentle but a brilliant musician and songwriter on the world stage,” he said.

Born John Errington in Jarrow, in 1949, Miles played in a number of bands in Tyneside during the 1960s including The Influence, The Urge and John Miles Set. For a time he played in a band with fellow Jarrow native Paul Thompson, who went on to find fame with Roxy Music.

“This is a big shock,” Thompson told The Chronicle. “I have so many memories of playing with John. Even then, he was a well-respected, top-class musician and it was a big learning curve for me.

“He was a very unassuming man – and even though he did achieve big success, I think he should have been an even bigger star. He will be sadly missed.”

The peak of Miles’ success was in the second half of the 1970s. ‘Music’ hit Number Three in the UK charts in 1976, while 1975’s ‘Highfly’, 1976’s ‘Remember Yesterday’ and 1977’s ‘Slow Down’ also charted.

‘Music’ also went on to become a huge hit in Europe. Almost every year since 1985, Miles had performed the song at Night Of The Proms, a series of concerts held annually in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.

Later in his career, Miles was a successful touring musician for the likes of Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Stevie Wonder. He also appeared on Jimmy Page’s 1988 album ‘Outrider’ and Cocker’s 1992 album ‘Night Calls’. Miles also won the Outstanding Musical Achievement award at the 2017 Progressive Music Awards.