Bassist Phil Spalding, who worked with GTR and Mike Oldfield, has died

Phil Spalding
(Image credit: Tenacity Music PR)

The music word has been paying tribute to former GTR, Mike Oldfield and Toyah bassist Phil Spalding, who has died unexpectedly at the age of 65.

Best known as a session bassist, Spalding played on the Mike Oldfield albums CrisesIslands and Earth Moving, and was a member of Oldfield's live band. He was also a member of GTR, the guitar-led supergroup built around Steve Hackett and Steve Howe, whose lone self-titled album was released in 1986.

Spalding also worked Mick Jagger, Roger Chapman, Ray Charles, Judie Tzuke, Seal OMD, Elton John, Randy Crawford, Mel C, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams, among others.

"I’m sad to hear of the death of Phil Spalding," Hackett reflected on Twitter. "He was a lovely guy and a great bass player in GTR. He was also at school with my brother John."

"Sad to hear of the passing of Phil Spalding," added Yes keyboard player Geoff Downes. "A very talented bass guitarist and all-round great guy who I had the pleasure of working with on the GTR albums and several other projects."

"My deepest sympathy to Phil Spalding’s family and loved ones," said Toyah Wilcox. "He was one of the greatest bass players and performers of all time. It’s a sad sad time."

"Phil ran and played with a lot of demons and fought them all along the way," wrote Fish. "He went through some mean and difficult times but became a beautiful, caring and thoughtful person paying a heavy price for his earlier life both in friendships and in long term health.

"I could never not forgive his smiling face and he never did me any wrong ever. He was a good friend to many as well as being one of the finest bass guitarists I have ever known. A true character, a wee wizard and a wonderful guy."

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.