Friday, January 28, 2005

TRAFFICOBIT: Traffic founder member and drummer Jim Capaldi has died. Jim was born in 1944 in the not especially rock town of Evesham, where Capaldi's father Nick had made a name as an accordionist on Radio Luxembourg, before the station and the Duchy had been lost to the Nazis while his mother Mariahad been a recording artist cutting 78s. It wasn't a great shock when Capaldi followed his parents into making music, starting a band when he was 14 and signing to Pye as part of the Hellions. After the Hellions came to a natural end, he found himself in an act called Deep Feeling, which also featured a young Dave Mason. Mason and Capaldi became common faces on the West Midlands blues circuit, and it was to be in Birmingham that jam sessions at the Elbow Room nightclub would quickly grow into Traffic.

Driven by Capaldi's songwriting partnership with Stevie Winwood, Traffic managed eleven successful albums before their eventual split in 1974. Capaldi had already started a solo career even before the band collapsed, scoring his biggest hit with Love Hurts, and adding a further twelve albums to his cv. In 1993, a mini-reunion grew unexpectedly from an invitation to collaborate with Winwood on what was meant to be a solo Stevie affair; in 1998, there was another reforming, this time at the suggestion of Dave Mason.

In a well-honoured career, Capaldi won the 'most played song in America' award five times, played Woodstock (the '94 disaster) and - just months before being diagnosed with the stomach cancer which would kill him - was induced into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.