“Music of the Future, Music of the past, to live without my music would be impossible to do because in this world of troubles my music pulls me through”. This is a true sentiment to many who hear those words when sung by singer songwriter and musician John Miles in his 1976 hit Music.
Jarrow born, Miles, aged 72 sadly passed away early in December in Newcastle after a short illness.
Miles rose to fame in 1975 with his hit Highfly but it was the 1976 track Music that he will best be remembered for. The song mixed pop and classical references together to create something that was at the time revolutionary.
He never really matched the success of the track. In 1977 when disco music was beginning to be the dominant force in pop music he tried to alter his style to fit in with the current trend by recording the disco infused song Slow Down. Whilst the song did not really suit his style the track reached number 10 in the singles chart.
In 1979 Miles released what many fans recall was his best album MMPH – More Miles Per Hour. The album cover features him against a backdrop of Concorde standing on the runway.
I was fortunate to meet Miles as part of a competition in the local paper I had won to see him perform a concert with his band at St George’s Hall in Bradford. The prize included tickets to the concert and to meet him and his band backstage after the concert.
I fondly remember him signing my copy of the MMPH album, him asking me what my favourite tracks were and having my photograph taken with him – which I am still trying to find!
Over the later years Miles became part of Tina Turner’s touring band who I witnessed many times in places as far afield as Sheffield and Woburn Abbey.
From 1985 he participated every year in the Night At The Proms concerts held every summer across Europe, even appearing right up to the last series in 2019.
In 2017 he was awarded an outstanding contribution to music award by the Progressive Rock Awards.
Producer and arranger Alan Parsons who Miles worked with on albums and Night At The Proms said on the news of the singers death.
“I am hugely saddened by the news that my good friend and musical genius John has passed. I am so very proud to have worked with him on some of the greatest vocal performances ever recorded, including of course Music, which as well as being a big hit internationally, became an anthem for the hugely popular “Night of the Proms” concerts. Whenever I invited John to sing on the Alan Parsons Project albums he always delivered magical and sensitive renditions. He will be greatly missed not only by his many friends and associates but also by the millions of fans who recognize his amazing talent. You will be missed”
Music was indeed his first love and a true music legend has been lost.