Legendary British drummer of Spooky Tooth and The Only Ones, Mike Kellie has died aged 69.

His death was announced via Facebook by ‘Only Ones’ band-mate John Perry:

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Mike Kellie.

Kellie learned of his illness last September but, characteristically, chose to keep the diagnosis private. We will post more, personal, appreciations in due course but, for the moment, we will recall the 40 years of music-making we shared with him. A gentleman, a friend and a fine musician. Our thoughts are with his family.

Peter and Zena Perrett, Alan Mair, John Perry.”

Personally, this is as devastating as the death of David Bowie in January of 2016, The Only Ones are one of my all-time most loved bands and most people who I’m close with know that as far as most played songs go ‘Another Girl, Another Planet‘ is right up there.

As a tribute to the drummer on probably my favourite song of all time, I fancied reminiscing on how I heard ‘Planet‘ for the first time and why it became the one song that I would judge all others by from then on.

At 15, my school required students to take a 2 week long work experience. I decided to try my hand as an electrician’s assistant, I had no real interest in continuing the same work my dad took an early retirement from but as I had no clue what I wanted to do once I left school, I decided that a bit of trade work wouldn’t be so bad for a couple of weeks.

The best thing that came out of those two weeks was the friendship I shared with the guy I was working with. Dave Robinson was a typical electrician, short hair, bearded and laddish, but what set him apart was his taste in music.

Dave’s taste in music was far from stereotypical, as soon as we set off for the first job on day one, I knew I was in for a decent fortnight, Sex Pistols and The Ramones were two of his perennial favourites and we’d listen to them along with other Punk and Alternative bands all day.

I think it was at the end of the first week that Dave brought in a compilation of songs I’d never heard, ‘Another Girl, Another Planet‘ was the first on the disc, from the first echoing guitar lick onward I felt like I had a musical epiphany, this song was as close to perfect as music would ever sound for me, and some 9 years later this still rings true.

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Legends – The Only Ones, (L-R) Peter Perrett, John Perry, Alan Mair and Mike Kellie.

The incredible intro that just builds and builds, the soaring guitar solo of John Perry, the beautifully penned lyrics of singer Peter Perrett, which to this day I can’t pin down…was he referring to women or heroin? Two of the singer’s most infamous vices. The understated bass line of Alan Mair and of course the genius drum fills of the man we so recently lost, Mike Kellie. Everything about this song was and still is so visible to me. It’s like I can feel the music with all of my senses, not just listening to the song but truly embracing it, and for that I thank ‘The Only Ones’, I thank Mike Kellie for being a part of the band that is so important to me, and for making this song a song that at 15, changed my complete outlook on music.

Mike Kellie

24 March 1947 – 18 January 2017

 

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