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Last Updated: Monday, 9 June, 2003, 18:13 GMT 19:13 UK
Stars' farewell to producer Most

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online

Three generations of pop stars turned out to pay their respects to record producer Mickie Most at his memorial service on Monday.

Dozens of artists representing eras from the 1950s to the 1980s packed a north London chapel to celebrate Most's life and work.
Lulu described Most's death as "a tremendous loss"

Among them were Lulu, Suzi Quatro, Paul Young, Kim Wilde and her father Marty, guitar legend Jeff Beck and Hot Chocolate singer Errol Brown.

Others included Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, Herman's Hermits frontman Peter Noone, singer-songwriter Donovan, 10CC's Graham Gouldman, rocker Chris Spedding and Brian Bennett of The Shadows.

Chrissie Hynde and Jeff Beck
Chrissie Hynde and Jeff Beck paid tribute

Most - real name Michael Hayes - died of lung cancer last week aged 64.

Born in Aldershot, Hampshire, he was cremated a few miles from his home at Totteridge, north London, at the Golders Green crematorium.

Friends and colleagues lined up to pay moving tributes to a man who was, it seems, universally loved for both his professional prowess and his personal charm.

Most's magic touch
Kim Wilde with father Marti
Lulu: To Sir With Love
Hot Chocolate: You Sexy Thing
Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining
Kim Wilde: Kids In America
Herman's Hermits: There's A Kind Of Hush
Artists as diverse as folk singer Julie Felix and Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones turned up to say farewell to a one-time mentor.

Sir Elton John sent a message of condolence to Most's widow, Christina, daughters Nathalie and Crystalle and son Calvin.

One by one, they told BBC News Online how Most had changed their lives with his magical pop touch - an ability to find a great song and match it to the talents of his performers.

Shakira Caine (l) and Errol Brown (r)
Shakira Caine (l) said Most was a "fabulous" man. Errol Brown (r) described him as "a great friend"
In many cases, they said, it was this special gift that had been the key to bringing them worldwide success.

Lulu said: "I have a lot to be grateful to him for.

"It's the end of an era. When someone like Maurice Gibb goes (Bee Gee and her former husband), George Harrison goes and now Mickie Most... We were very close at one time. He's left a tremendous legacy."

Peter Noone, who had flown in from LA, said: "He made my life. He was my best friend, best man at my wedding, my daughter's godfather. He made my records.

Donovan (l) and Chris Spedding
Donovan (l) and Chris Spedding spoke of their loss
"He was a genius at what he did. He was the world's greatest producer."

Shakira Caine said: "He was a fabulous man. (Michael) loved him particularly.

"We are just very sad. My husband can't be here because he's in Marseilles at the moment. He was a very great friend and we were just so shocked."

Peter Noone
Peter Noone said he had lost his best friend
Errol Brown said: "He brought the best out of me as an artist, writer and singer.

"He was a great friend to me and meeting him changed my life completely.

"He helped to make one of the classic songs in You Sexy Thing. Everywhere you go in the world you hear it and that's a great testimony to his skills."

Recalling their first meeting, Suzi Quatro said: "I had an offer to be the new Janis Joplin and he said to me, 'how do you fancy being the first Suzi Quatro?' "

Jeff Beck, in black leather jacket and shades, said: "He was a fun guy. We went to see The Cradle (Suzi Quatro and her sisters) at Motown and I said to him, 'Grab the girl (Suzi)'. And he did."

John Paul Jones
John Paul Jones said the song was "everything" to Most

Donovan said: "He was one of the top five music producers in the 1960s. He had an innate understanding of what a song needed to be a hit."

Kim Wilde recalled a video shoot in Cornwall with Most for her single Kids In America.

"He had never made a video before, and he tried to make a Cornwall beach look like Miami Vice," she said. "He hired a Cadillac and everything, but it still looked like Cornwall.

"He was very charismatic and quite unique. I never met anybody quite like him."

One of Most's favourite songs, Cupid by Sam Cooke, was played as the memorial service began with a tribute from his friend, former nightclub owner Johnny Gold.

Paul Young with wife
Paul Young attended with his wife, Stacey
Songwriter Nicky Chinn, part of the of team at Most's RAK label, said he had an "enormous, energising impact on everyone who met him".

"He was my best friend, I loved him very much," he told the church gathering, packed to overflowing.

An emotional afternoon in the north London sunshine ended with some words from his oldest friend, Deke Arlon, as the crowd dispersed to the sound of Lonnie Donegan's Rock Island Line.

Stars' tributes to producer Most
01 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Pop producer Most dies
31 May 03  |  Entertainment

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