A legendary Peterborough guitarist who made it big after being spotted by David Bowie has died.
Lloyd Watson played alongside some of the biggest names in music, from Bowie himself to Roxy Music and Status Quo.
The 70-year-old died on Tuesday night after an illness.
Son, Elliot (42) – who is also a guitarist – said Lloyd was an inspiration to many.
He said: “He was a unique talent. My first ever gig was with him when I was 11 years old. I am still playing now, and teaching – I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing without him.
“Like all families we had our ups and downs, but music would always bring us together.”
Lloyd, who was known in Peterborough for playing in the Lloyd Watson Band, started his musical career using saucepans as drums in his mum’s kitchen, and when he started piano lessons, he only lasted a few months, before his teacher said: ‘I can’t take your money any more – he is better than me.’
He got his big break when he won Melody Maker Magazine’s Folk Musician of the Year award in 1973, which led to an appearance on BBC show The Old Grey Whistle Test.
Lloyd’s sister, Norma Palmer, said: “David Bowie saw the show and was impressed by Lloyd, and his management got in touch, and Lloyd opened a few shows for him.
“On one occasion, Lloyd had his dressing room broken into when he was watching David and David lent him his guitar.”
While Lloyd had a long, successful career, it was almost ended in 1976, when he suffered severe burns when he was electrocuted while playing guitar, but his injuries would not stop him playing.
Norma said: “He was playing in The Golden Fleece, when his bandmate spotted smoke. Lloyd suffered serious burns to his hands. He was taken to hospital, and a nurse, who was a family friend, overheard doctors saying: ‘we might not be able to save his hands.’ The nurse said: ‘you have to save them – he is a guitarist.’
“The very next day he was in another pub, with lollipop sticks coming out of his bandages playing guitar.”
Norma also said he had helped Status Quo with guitar tuning – and his advice helped them record hit single Down Down.
Lloyd had recently become a grandfather to Rudy, and had three children – Elliot, Lauren and Aynsley – although sadly, Aynsley died suddenly two years ago.
Lauren, a singer, who gave birth to Rudy in the summer, said she hoped Rudy would carry on the ‘Watson musical gene.’
She said: “Aynsley was a very good drummer, and we are already taking Rudy to festivals and concerts, so we have started him young.
“Dad’s death was a really big shock to us.
“We have seen so many messages, videos and tributes to him since the news broke.
“It is nice to see the impact he had.”
Funeral details will be announced in the next few days.