Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Musician Eric Woolfson dies aged 64

Eric Woolfson
Woolfson wrote songs for Marianne Faithfull, Chris Farlowe and Frank Ifield

Songwriter and musician Eric Woolfson, one of the key figures behind The Alan Parsons Project, has died aged 64.

He recorded a string of albums with his collaborator, record producer Alan Parsons, and wrote his own musicals and songs for other artists.

The musician had been suffering from cancer and died in London on Tuesday.

His friend Deborah Owen said: "Eric was very much a self-made man. He couldn't read music but if you asked him to play anything he could do it straight away."

"He had an extraordinary gift," she added.

Woolfson - who is survived by his wife Hazel, with whom he has two daughters - largely taught himself to play piano and spent the early part of his career working as a songwriter in London.

US success

The Glasgow-born musician wrote songs for Marianne Faithfull, Chris Farlowe and Frank Ifield.

He also worked as a producer for artists including The Tremeloes and The Equals, before hooking up with Parsons, for whom he had initially acted as manager.

It was in the early 1970s, during the prog-rock era, that Woolfson's work started to become well-known.

Parsons had already worked as an engineer on The Beatles' Abbey Road and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon, and together they formed The Alan Parsons Project.

The pair released 10 albums, none of which were huge hits in the UK, but found success in Germany and the US.

Woolfson performed vocals on the some of the Project's tracks and eventually moved in to musicals, including a production based on the life of Edgar Allan Poe which premiered in Berlin earlier this year.

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