Passings: Peter Skellern (1947 - 2017)

by VVN Music

Peter Skellern, the British singer/songwriter who had a global hit in 1972 with You're a Lady, has died on Friday (February 17) from a brain tumor at the age of 69.

Skellern was born in Bury, Lancashire, England and learned both the organ and piano as a youth. He later formed progressive band March Hare who, after one record, moved more in the direction of pop, changing their name to Harlan County.

After the breakup of the band, Skellern continued to write with one of his songs, She's a Lady, being heard by representatives of Decca Records who immediately signed him to a recording contract. The record went to number 3 in the U.K. and 50 in the U.S.

Even though Lady was his biggest hit and went on to be recorded by a number of other artists, it built Peter a big enough following that he was able to release over a dozen albums over his career. He once again hit the charts in 1975 with Hold On To Love (#14 U.K.) and in 1978 with Love is the Sweetest Thing (1978 / #60).  His style was very nostalgic of an earlier age with the use of strings and brass.

He also branched out into other areas of show business starting in the mid-70's as a member of the BBC's Stop the Week. He later composed a series of short plays for the BBC called Happy Endings and was the host of the talk show Private Lives.

In 1984, Peter formed a group called Oasis (not to be confused with the rock band) with Julian Lloyd Weber and Mary Hopkin. They recorded one album before disbanding due to Hopkin having a medical condition.

The next year, he met and started performing with Richard Stilgoe, a brash comedian and composer who was the perfect foil to Skellern's more gentle personality. The two toured together for eighteen years.

In 2014, Skellern made the decision to become ordained in the Church of England, entering into training. Two years later, he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor but finished his studies with the Bishop of Truro ordaining him as both a deacon and a priest last October (2016).

Skellern is survived by his wife, a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.

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