Andy Newman in 1972 (Chris Morphet/Redferns)Andy Newman, keyboardist and sax player of the short-lived British group Thunderclap Newman, died Tuesday at his home in London at the age of 73. Ex-Big Country drummer Mark Brzezicki, who played with a later version of Thunderclap Newman, shared the news of Newman’s passing on his official Facebook page.

“I’m really sad to hear the news of my dear friend and wonderful musician Andy ‘Thunderclap’ Newman,” wrote Brzezicki.  “He was an unsung musical genius…He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him personally, and by his wonderful music…It was an honour both knowing and working with [him].”

Thunderclap Newman is best known for its 1969 hit “Something in the Air,” which topped the U.K. singles chart for three weeks and peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Who‘s Pete Townshend helped put the band together as a vehicle for the songs of singer/drummer John “Speedy” Keen, a former Who roadie. The core of Thunderclap Newman was made up of Newman, Keen and teenage guitarist Jimmy McCulloch, who later played with Paul McCartney and Wings.

The original band released just on album, 1970’s Hollywood Dream, which was produced by Townshend, who also played bass on the recording. The group broke up in 1971, although Newman took part in a re-formed version of the band that toured during the 2000s, and released an album in 2010 titled Beyond Hollywood.

Sadly, McCulloch was just 26 when he died of heart failure related to drug abuse in 1979. Keen also passed away of heart failure, in 2002 at the age of 56.

In homage to Newman, The Who posted a message on its Facebook page, along with a link to an archival video of Thunderclap Newman performing “Something in the Air” on a TV show.

Incidentally, a cover of “Something in the Air” appears on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers‘ 1994 Greatest Hits album.

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Source: Classic Rock News