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Thursday, 15 May 2014

45 Years Ago: Fairport Convention’s Bus Crashes, Killing Martin Lamble Read More: 45 Years Ago: Fairport Convention's Bus Crashes, Killing Martin Lamble

Fairport ConventionA&M

As the summer of 1969 approached, the future looked bright for Fairport Convention, as their second album, ‘What We Did on Our Holidays,’ expanded the band’s audience with a more rock-inflected version of their folk sound. But an awful tragedy nearly destroyed the band just as all their hard work was starting to pay off.

In the early morning hours of May 12, as the group traveled back from a celebratory gig in Birmingham shortly after wrapping up work on their next album, their van veered off the road — and in the aftermath of the crash, Fairport Convention would never be the same. The wreck killed drummer Martin Lamble, who was just 19 at the time, as well as fashion designer and magazine columnist Jeannie Franklyn, who’d been dating guitarist Richard Thompson. Thompson suffered a broken shoulder and bassist Ashley Hutchings was sent to the hospital with assorted serious injuries, while guitarist Simon Nicol, who’d been sleeping on the floor of the vehicle when it went off the road, escaped with a concussion.

“Our road manager and sound guy, Harvey Bramham, did most of the driving although I’d do a bit to relieve him. On this particular gig, he’d been feeling peaky all day, quite unwell,” explained Nicol in a post on the Fairport Convention website. “I had a bad migraine so I wasn’t in a seat; I was stretched out on the floor with a blanket over my head trying to sleep off this terrible headache. When I woke up, the van was doing things which didn’t involve the wheels being in contact with the ground: when it stopped moving, I was the only one left. All the gear had gone out of the back and all the people had gone out through the windows and doors.”

With the release of their next album mere weeks away, the members of the group had to decide whether they could even carry on as a unit. “That was a big watershed, I think. In the aftermath, we thought a lot about what to do, whether to call it a day. It had been fun while it lasted but it took a definite effort of will to continue,” recalled Nicol. “It had given us a lot but now it had taken away a lot: was it worth it if it was going to cost people their lives?”

Read More: 45 Years Ago: Fairport Convention's Bus Crashes, Killing Martin Lamble | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/fairport-convention-bus-crash/?trackback=tsmclip


CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FROM GONZO
Live In Maidstone 1970
CD - £7.99

Live At Maidstone Castle 1970
DVD - £9.99

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