Lee Brilleaux

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Lee Brilleaux
Birth nameLee John Collinson
Born(1952-05-10)10 May 1952
Durban, South Africa
Died7 April 1994(1994-04-07) (aged 41)
Leigh-on-Sea, Essex
GenresRock, pub rock, R&B
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter, musician
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, harmonica
Years active1970–94
LabelsStiff Records
Associated actsDr 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, to 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 of 500 pounds.[3]

Johnson left Dr Feelgood in 1977 but Brilleaux continued the band with Gypie Mayo on guitar in 1978. By 1984 he was the only founder member remaining. In 1986, he recorded the album Brilleaux, 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 one-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, and it now has approximately 1500 signatures.[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. Howe is also the co-author of Looking Back at Me, an autobiography of Wilko Johnson, the original guitarist with Dr. Feelgood.[5] The book was published, by Polygon, as Lee Brilleaux: Rock'n'Roll Gentleman.[6][7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, David (1998). Guinness Rockopedia (1st ed.). London: Guinness Publishing Ltd. p. 128. ISBN 0-85112-072-5.
  2. ^ "Joan's Feelgood memories of her son Lee". Echo. 22 November 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2013
  3. ^ a b c d Staig, Laurence. "Obituary: Lee Brilleaux". The Independent. 9 April 1994. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Focal Point Gallery e-petition for a memorial statue of Lee Brilleaux in Southend-on-Sea". Focalpoint.org.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Crowdfund a book: Unbound". Unbound.co.uk. Retrieved 8 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 23 May 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Howe, Zoe (3 November 2015). "Lee Brilleaux: Rock'n'roll Gentleman". Amazon.co.uk. Polygon. Retrieved 8 September 2018.

External links[edit]