Fairport Convention drummer Gerry Conway dies aged 76: Legendary musician passes away after battle with motor neurone disease as Cat Stevens leads the tributes

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Written By Maya Cantina

Fairport Convention drummer Gerry Conway has died aged 76, his bandmates confirmed on Wednesday. 

The musician – who served as Fairport’s drummer from 1988 until 2022 – passed away following a battle with motor neurone disease on March 29.

Paying tribute to Conway on their official website, the band wrote: ‘He brought to the band an impeccable understanding of ‘feel’ and comradeship, a unique sense of subtlety and a complete understanding of what was required.

‘Gerry’s impressive musical CV began long before he joined Fairport. He came to prominence as drummer and percussionist with Cat Stevens, both in the studio and in live performance. 

As well as his tenure with Pentangle from 1986 to 1993 (then with Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle until 2022) he was also admired for his work with Fotheringay and Jethro Tull.

‘His name spread far and wide and was the envy of his peers. Fairport Convention’s thoughts and condolences are with Gerry’s partner Jacqui and the family.’ 

Born in 1947, Conway taught himself to play the drums at an early age, featuring in a number of school bands before his talents caught the eye of the Chico Arnéz Orchestra, a London based Latin band, when he was 16. 

But while his parents forbade him from joining, Conway soon established himself as a respected professional drummer after leaving school to work for record label EMI. 

There, the musician honed his craft with blues guitarist Alexis Korner, the short lived sixties bands Eclection and folk-rock group Fotheringay. 

He also enjoyed a length association with folk legend Cat Stevens, appearing on eight of his albums over a 33-year period – among them 1971 classic Teaser And The Firecat. 

Conway’s work with Fairport Convention began in 1973 with contributions to three tracks on the band’s eighth album, Rosie.  

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Fairport Convention drummer Gerry Conway has died aged 76, his bandmates confirmed on Wednesday

The band confirmed Conway's death in a statement shared on their official website

The band confirmed Conway’s death in a statement shared on their official website 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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