Talented Burnley singer dies

TRIBUTES: Mr Les Walker
TRIBUTES: Mr Les Walker

A TALENTED Burnley singer who performed all over Europe alongside some of the greatest names in music, including The Who, Pink Floyd and Elton John has died.

Mr Les Walker (64) died in the Royal Blackburn Hospital on Boxing Day after battling cancer.

The grandad-of-four, who was born and grew up in Stoneyholme, started his career singing in clubs and dance halls across the North of England.

He moved to London in the late 1960s and for several years toured Europe and Scandinavia, appearing on live television, radio and recording albums.

During his time in London he worked with Chas N Dave, Jim Sullivan, who was guitarist with Tom Jones and James Last, Nashville guitarists Albert Lee and Ray Flacke and Paul Carrack, from Ace, Mike and the Mechanics, Squeeze and Roxy Music, with whom he remained good friends.

Mr Walker also appeared in the stage musical “Rock A Bye Beckett,” before returning to his roots and moving to Sabden with his family in 1989.

Over the years Mr Walker, who had two daughters, played in a host of different bands including The Estrellas, The Hurt, and Warm Dust, who featured in the line-up for the Yorkshire Folk, Blues and Jazz Festival in 1970 on the same night The Who were headlining. Elton John had played at the festival the previous day while Pink Floyd took to the stage the following night.

He was also in The Michigan Flyers, Tiger, The Southside Dynamos, Heart And Soul, Cooking Tonite, Back to Back, Juice On The Loose and more recently Snatchin’ It Back.

Mr Walker’s family said music was his passion and, although he played alongside some of the biggest names in music, he did not boast about his success.

He also appeared in NME magazine, in the same edition as the likes of Black Sabbath and Manfred Mann.

Speaking from the family home, in Clayton-le-Moors, his wife of almost 40 years, Angela, said he was once in the recording studio in London when he saw Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire in the corridor.

“I think he was star-struck then. Les was a really private person but he had some stories to tell. He loved his children and he loved his grandchildren.”

Mr Walker was also a gifted chef, photographer, gardener, keen fisherman and he enjoyed travelling.

His eldest daughter Georgia (37) said: “When he was singing, he’d look at you and you’d think ‘that’s my dad.’ He was very intelligent. He was amazing.”

Mr Walker’s youngest daughter Jennifer (32) added: “Even though he was so private, everyone knew who he was.”

“Since his death we have had so many cards, and we have only had one day of post. Our friends and family have been fantastic,” said Mrs Walker.

Mr Walker’s funeral will take place at Burnley Crematorium on Monday, January 7th.