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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 December 2005, 10:09 GMT
When the music dies
By Bob Chaundy
BBC News Profiles Unit

Our regular column covering the passing of significant - but lesser-reported - characters of the past month.

The Shadows in 1960
The Shadows' founder Tony Meehan (right) also died
The man known as "The Automatic Human Jukebox" has died in the streets of San Francisco where once he was one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Grimes Poznikov succumbed to alcohol poisoning on a pavement near a freeway. In the 1970s and early 1980s, Poznikov sat on a painted refrigerator box playing songs for cash on Fisherman's Wharf. Tourists would request tunes which he'd perform on trumpet, kazoo or one of several other instruments. In the 1980s, the former primary school teacher developed schizophrenia.

A more influential musician, American guitarist Link Wray, has died aged 76. His 1958 hit "Rumble" invented a new thunderous sound featuring fuzz-tone and feedback. Its sense of menace led to a ban on several radio stations, a rare feat for an instrumental, because it was thought to glorify juvenile delinquency. Wray also pioneered the power chord and The Who's Pete Townsend once wrote "If it hadn't been for Link Wray and The Rumble, I would never have picked up a guitar."

Gopal Godse
Godse wanted India free of Muslims
The last of the conspirators in the 1948 assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Godse, has died in India aged 86. His brother, Nathuram Godse, pulled the trigger and was hanged, together with co-conspirator Narayan Apte.

Godse, whose own gun failed to fire, was sentenced to 16 years for his part in the killing. The three men believed the Mahatma had betrayed the Indian Independence Movement by enabling the creation of Pakistan. Godse continued to hate Gandhi for the rest of his life.

Alfred Anderson meets Prince Charles
Alfred Anderson met Prince Charles
The last member of the British Expeditionary Force "The Old Contemptibles", and the sole remaining survivor of the 1914 Christmas truce, Alfred Anderson, has died aged 109. In a recent BBC interview, he recalled how, as a lad in Scotland, he was carried aloft by a soldier returning from the Boer War in 1902. He remembered the eerie silence of the Christmas truce. At the Battle of the Somme in 1916, a shell exploded over his head, injuring him and killing many of his friends.

'Home-made hooch'

A hero from the other world war was Major George Drew who has died aged 87. During his imprisonment in the legendary prisoner-of-war camp, Colditz Castle, he helped his fellow inmates cope with the boredom by distilling a potent home-made "hooch". He achieved this by mixing the turnip jam, provided by the Germans, with yeast and water. Its effects were severe, in some cases causing temporary blindness. When re-creating his brew five years ago for a TV programme, he tasted it and gasped "Oh Christ".

Link Wray
Wray pioneered the power chord
The actor Geoffrey Keen, who has died aged 89, is the instantly recognisable face of countless minor film roles. Most notably, he played the Minister of Defence in six James Bond movies. He became a familiar face on TV in the 1960s as the chief executive of an oil company in Mogul and The Troubleshooters. "Most of the stuff I do is rubbish," he once said. "But it's a very exciting thing to get a mediocre part and give it a third dimension."

Among others who have died in November are footballer George Best (see full obituary), drummer Tony Meehan of The Shadows (see full obituary), photographer Lord Lichfield (see full obituary), author John Fowles (see full obituary), management guru Peter Drucker (see full tribute), rally driver Richard Burns (see full tribute), radio presenter John Timpson (see full obituary), educationist Ted Wragg (see full obituary), Vegan Society founder Donald Watson (see full obituary), racehorse Best Mate (see full tribute), war criminal Anthony Sawoniuk (see full story), Indian President KR Narayanan (see full obituary), actor Pat Morita (see full story) and actress Sheree North (see full story).



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