Prog rock star Rick Wakeman has paid tribute to Welsh singer and guitarist Gary Pickford-Hopkins, who has died after a brave battle against cancer aged 65.
Neath born Gary was known for his long singing partnership with Ray “Taff” Williams, their duo Gary and Taff travelling widely.
At the age of 16, Pickford-Hopkins became a member of Neath group Smokestacks and was later lead vocalist of Eyes of Blue, a group that became popular throughout South Wales before breaking nationally by winning the 1966 Melody Maker Battle of the Bands contest.
He was also one of the vocalists on two of former Yes keyboard player Rick Wakeman’s most successful solo albums, Journey to the Centre of the Earth and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable.
Speaking about Pickford-Hopkins who died on Saturday, Wakeman said: “He was part of the British music scene most of his life including stints with Wild Turkey (formed by Glenn Cornick, previously of Jethro Tull).
“Gary was one of the nicest guys you could ever wish to meet. We had so much fun both in the studio and on the road.
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