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Passings: Richard Coughlan, Drummer For Caravan (1947 - 2013)

Source: Caravan Site
Richard Coughlan, the drummer with Caravan for the last 45 years, died on December 1 at the age of 66. He had been in poor health for a number of years although he remained the "official" drummer for the group.

The band's official sites posted:
It is with a very heavy heart that we announce that Richard Coughlan passed away on Sunday 1st December.

Richard was a founder member and drummer for Caravan for over forty three years. Richard died at his home and had been in poor health for the last few years.

He has played on all of the band’s releases to date and was one of the early birds in the history of the Canterbury bands having sessioned with The Wilde Flowers and predecessors. Despite not being well Richard played percussion at Caravan’s reunion gig in London in December 2010 and received a standing ovation.

His unique style of playing and wonderful character will be sorely missed.

We pass our sincere sympathies to Richard’s wife Sue, his daughter Beth, and all his family. We will publish a fuller obituary in due course and will have a book of condolences on the website so that his friends and fans can leave a message.

Richard was 66 years old
May he Rest in Peace.
Coughlan did not play the drums until he was a member of the Sea Cadets, eventually making it to the position of lead drummer. He got his first set of drums at 16 and started playing with local bands.

In 1966, Coughlan took over the drums for the Canterbury progressive group The Wilde Flowers when member Robert Wyatt moved to lead vocals. Wyatt later left the group to form Soft Machine and the remaining members decided to change their name to Caravan.

The band became the first British group to sign with Verve Records in 1968 where they released their self-titled debut album.  When Verve dropped pop and rock artists, Caravan moved to Decca and, in 1970, released If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You. Over the next twelve years, the band issued eight more albums, all of which were popular on continental Europe but had little impact in the U.S. and U.K. where only Cunning Stunts (1975 / #124 U.S. / #50 U.K.) and Blind Dog at St. Dunstans (1976 / #53 U.K.).

After their 1982 album Back to Front, the band broke up with Coughlan leaving music to run a pub.  A 1990 TV appearance which was meant to be a one-time thing proved to be what the band needed to reinvigorate their career and they permanently reformed. Caravan went on to release three additional studio albums, Cool Water (1994), The Battle of Hastings (1995) and The Unauthorized Breakfast Item (2003).

Poor health sidelined Coughlan starting in 2005 and the band went hiatus in hopes that he would once again be well enough to play.  They reformed in 2010 with Mark Walker on drums but Richard returned for one last show at Metropolis Studios which gained him a standing ovation.  While he never returned to the band, he remained their official drummer until his death.