Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Michael Dunford of Renaissance Passes Away

Michael Dunford, long term member of the British progressive band Renaissance, passed away on Tuesday from a reported cerebral hemorrhage.

According to the Renaissance website:
Michael Dunford, musical composer and guitarist of the progressive rock band Renaissance passed away on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. He had just returned home from the first leg of the band’s North American tour and suffered a massive Instantaneous Cerebral Hemorrhage while dining at his home in Surrey, England Monday night. He was rushed to hospital where doctors declared his condition irreversible and terminal. He passed away at 11:06 pm GMT, surrounded by his family without having regained consciousness.
Dunford's first foray into music was in 1962 as a member of the skiffle group the Nashville Teens. He would leave the group a year later before they hit it big with the song Tobacco Road, going on to form the Plebes and, later, the Pentad.

In the summer of 1970, Dunford joined former members of the Nashville Teens to form the second version of Renaissance. The original group had slowly dissolved and only original members Jane Reif and John Hawken moved on to the new version. The group's second album, Illusion, included songs recorded by the original lineup plus one track, Mr. Pine (written by Dunford) from the new version.

Between Dunford's joining of the group in the summer of 1970 and mid-1972, the group went through a total of seven different lineups which included vocalist Annie Haslam joining in early 1971. By mid-'72, Dunford had stopped playing with the group to concentrate on writing songs for their albums starting with Prologue (1972).

During the Prologue tour, Dunford returned to live performing and a lineup was finally formed that would stay together through the next six albums including classics Turn of a Card and Scheherazade and Other Stories.

The band continued to record into the 80's, including a break-off version of the group with Dunford and Haslam which performed acoustic versions of their music. By the mid-90's, multiple versions of Renaissance existed including one led by Dunford and one by Haslam. Since then, members have occasionally reformed including a 2009 tour with Haslam and Dunford commemorating the group's 40th anniversary.

Dunford is survived by his wife, Claire, and his sons William (13) and Oliver (10).

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing talent and a good man. Sad news indeed. The heart and soul of Renaissance is gone. My sincere condolences to family and friends.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic songwriter and acoustic guitarist. The real maker of Renaissance Mark II. I started listening to his songs in my childhood and never stopped. A great loss for pop music world.

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