Entertainment & Arts

Alvin Stardust, glam rock singer, dies aged 72

Alvin Stardust on Top of the Pops in 1973
Image caption Stardust had been due to release a new studio album this autumn

Singer Alvin Stardust has died aged 72 after a short illness.

He had recently been diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer and died at home with his wife and family around him, his manager said.

Born Bernard Jewry in the East End of London in 1942, his hits included My Coo Ca Choo, Jealous Mind and I Feel Like Buddy Holly.

The former glam rock star had been due to release his first studio album in 30 years on 3 November.

He recently announced the record, titled Alvin, was finished and would represent "a new and exciting departure" of which he was "immensely proud".

The singer had performed on stage at the Regal cinema in Evesham, Worcestershire on Saturday.

Stardust grew up in Mansfield and started playing guitar as a schoolboy. He met one of his biggest influences, Buddy Holly, at a gig in Doncaster and played backstage with the singer and his band the Crickets.

He signed his first record deal in 1961 as the frontman of Shane Fenton and the Fentones, though the band struggled to get in the charts.

In 1973 he signed with Magnet Records and took on the name that would make him famous.

"It started off as Elvin Starr, because they wanted a kind of rocky, country name," he recalled in 2010.

"But [a woman] who was doing promotion for us said it wasn't 'glam-rocky' enough, so it became Stardust and then Alvin."

My Coo Ca Choo, the debut song under his new guise, peaked at number two in the UK singles chart.

Known for his rockabilly quiff, sideburns and black gloves, he projected a glowering persona he said he adopted because he was nervous and "didn't want to be found out".

His success led to him being part of a Green Cross Code road safety campaign in 1976, which saw him instructing children to look both ways before they crossed the road.

That success continued into the 1980s with Pretend, I Feel Like Buddy Holly and I Won't Run Away all making the top 10.

Once described as "the Godfather of British Rock 'n' Roll" by Rolling Stone Keith Richards, he made sporadic acting appearances in Hollyoaks, The Grimleys and Doctors.

He also appeared on stage in such musicals as Godspell, The Phantom of the Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium, in which he played the fearsome Child Catcher.

Stardust was married three times. His first wife was Iris Caldwell, with whom he had two sons, Shaun and Adam.

His second wife was the actress Liza Goddard, with whom he had a daughter named Sophie.

"RIP Alvin Stardust," Goddard tweeted on Thursday. "Thank you for our beautiful daughter and granddaughter."

Stardust went on to marry Julie Paton, an actress and choreographer, with whom he had a daughter, Millie.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The singer previously recorded under the name Shane Fenton

Shaun is now a headmaster of a school in Reigate, while his brother is a producer and DJ who records under the name Adam F.

DJ Tony Blackburn remembered the singer as "a great showman" who would be "sorely missed". "Performing was his life," added the veteran broadcaster.

"He had this bad boy image, but he was not like that at all," Blackburn continued. "On stage he was brilliant, but off stage he was just an ordinary guy."

Stardust, a committed Christian, was also remembered as "a great bloke" by his former Hollyoaks co-star Jeremy Edwards.

"RIP Alvin Stardust, the original landlord of the Dog in the Pond," the actor wrote on Twitter, referring to the Channel 4 series' fictional public house.

"I may not have known him long, but even in that short time he proved to be one of the most genuine and likeable men I've ever met," said the singer's manager Andy Davies.

"His passing is a huge and sad loss."

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