Lee Brilleaux

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Lee Brilleaux
Birth name John Lee Collinson
Born (1952-05-10)10 May 1952
Durban, South Africa
Died 7 April 1994(1994-04-07) (aged 41)
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
Genres Rock,pub rock, R&B
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, musician
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active 1970–94
Labels Stiff Records
Associated acts Dr Feelgood

Lee Brilleaux (born Lee John Collinson, 10 May 1952 – 7 April 1994)[1] was an English rhythm-and-blues singer and musician with the British band Dr Feelgood.

Biography[edit]

He was born in Durban, South Africa, from English parents,[2] was brought up in Ealing, and moved to Canvey Island with his family when he was 13.[3]

He co-founded Dr Feelgood with Wilko Johnson in 1971 and was the band's lead singer, harmonica player and occasional guitarist. According to one obituary: "Brilleaux and Johnson developed a frantic act, often charismatically dressed in dark suits and loose ties, shabby rather than smart. The rough, and almost ruthless, edge which ran through his vocal and harmonica style reflected the character and philosophy of the band."[3]

In 1976, Brilleaux helped found Stiff Records, one of the driving forces of the "New Wave" of the mid- to late-1970s, with a loan from singer-songwriter John Hiatt.[3]

Johnson left Dr Feelgood in 1977. Brilleaux reformed the band with different musicians in the 80s and early 90s. By 1984 he was the only founder member remaining. In 1986, he recorded the album Brilleaux 86, featuring songs by Johnny Cash. His last performance was in January 1994, at the Dr Feelgood Music Bar in Canvey Island.[3]

He died on 7 April 1994 of lymphoma, at the age of 41, at his home in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.

Legacy[edit]

After a 1 year hiatus Dr. Feelgood appointed Pete Gage as their new vocalist.

In 2011, contemporary artist and Dr. Feelgood fan Scott King announced his intention to commemorate Lee Brilleaux by erecting a 300 ft gold-plated statue of the musician on the foreshore in Southend-on-Sea close to the legendary Kursaal where the band played some of their most important gigs. An e-petition was launched to collect signatures in support of the project.[4]

In 2014, music writer Zoë Howe announced her intention to write Roadrunner, a biography based on Brilleaux's life, including a collection of his life stories and memories, with classic and unseen images. The book reached 100% crowd-funding via Unbound on 18 May 2014, and is due in 2015. Howe is also the co-author of Looking back at me, an autobiography of Wilko Johnson, the original guitarist with Dr. Feelgood.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]