Great British Drummer Bobby Irwin, R.I.P.

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Photo: Amanda Edwards/Redferns

The much-travelled and widely-respected British drummer Bobby Irwin, known for his work with Nick Lowe, Van Morrison and countless others, has passed away from cancer at the age of 62. He died in Twickenham, Middlesex, not far from his birthplace in Hillingdon, on May 8.

Perhaps Irwin’s highest-profile gig in a lifetime in music was behind the drums for Van Morrison, both on stage and disc. The Independent newspaper reported in its obituary that Morrison commented, on hearing of his passing: “Bob was my favourite drummer.”

Irwin was also a familiar face and welcome presence for many years in the bands and on the recordings of Nick Lowe, who wrote of him on his Facebook page: “Bon viveur, waterman, fabulous drummer, wise and beloved friend of 40 years. RIP my dear, darling fellow. What larks.”

One of Irwin and Lowe’s most notable collaborations, as co-writers, was on ‘I Trained Her To Love Me,’ a highly recommended and darkly humorous track from the latter’s 2007 album ‘At My Age.’ The song has also been performed live by Lowe’s longtime friend Elvis Costello.

Irwin’s last appearance on disc as a drummer was on Lowe’s 2013 Christmas album ‘Quality Street.’ His many other credits include Bryan Ferry’s ‘Dylanesque’ and ‘Frantic’ albums, and earlier days with the London blues/R&B outfit the Balham Alligators. We also fondly remember his days with the early 1980s melodic pop outfit the Sinceros, on their fine albums ‘The Sound Of Sunbathing’ and ‘Pet Rock.’

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  1. Dee Beard

    July 19, 2015 at 3:29 am

    Forever grateful Bobby Irwin. Without him introducing a singer and a guitar player of which became my fiance, I would not have had the greatest love in this life. He passed of cancer on May 16, 2011. May you both meet again, you are missed each day, no pain only the amazing smile.

  2. luc peeters

    August 9, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    I was playing some music in France, when I met Bobby. He like the music that we were playing, than he ask if it’s possible to play with us some songs. We dont now then who was that guy, but when he play’s the drum when I was singing it was amazing. Later that evening we now who it was, a beautifull guy who I will always remember as very special, even when we were toghether two years later at the same place

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