|Birth name||Thomas Leslie Gray|
9 April 1946|
Carshalton, Surrey, United Kingdom
|Died||21 February 2004
Thomas Leslie "Les" Gray (9 April 1946 – 21 February 2004) was an English musician best known for his work with glam rock pop band Mud. Gray was also known for his distinctive vocal impersonation of Elvis Presley.
Early life and career
Gray was born in Carshalton, Surrey, in 1946. He was a self-taught musician, and during his school years, he played trumpet with a jazz band, and then, with a younger brother, went on to form the skiffle unit, The Mourners. After leaving school he worked for Pearl & Dean, writing commercials, and later for Moss Bros before finding success with Mud.
With a few line-up changes, The Mourners evolved into Mud in February 1966, with Gray on vocals, Dave Mount on drums, Rob Davis on guitar, and Ray Stiles on bass, and won the Search for Sound song contest the same year. After a few unsuccessful singles including "Flower Power", they were signed to Mickie Most's RAK record label, and gained television exposure via an appearance on The Basil Brush Show. They toured in support of Tom Jones in 1973. Mud had a string of hits written by Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, including two which topped the UK Singles Chart in 1974, "Lonely This Christmas", and "Tiger Feet", and a chart topping cover of "Oh, Boy!" (originally performed by Buddy Holly). They disbanded in 1979.
Gray had a Top 40 solo hit (#32) in 1977 with his cover version of "A Groovy Kind of Love." He later toured with backing musicians under the name 'Les Gray's Mud', but never found the same level of success as he had enjoyed with the original outfit.
Gray appeared as a guest in the 1979 TV-series Jack Good's Oh Boy.
- Sweeting, Adam (25 February 2004). "Les Gray: Glam rock star who led Mud in the 1970s". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
- Leigh, Spencer (24 February 2004). "Obituaries: Les Gray". The Independent.
- Gregory, Andy (2002) International Who's Who in Popular Music 2002, Europa, ISBN 1-85743-161-8, p. 203
- "Obituaries: Les Gray", Daily Telegraph, 24 February 2004, retrieved 2010-07-19
- "Mud lead singer Gray dies at 57". BBC News. BBC. 24 February 2004. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
- "Les Gray", Chart Stats, retrieved 2010-07-19
- Newley, Patrick. "Les Gray". The Stage. The Stage Media Company Limited. Retrieved 23 February 2018.