Goodbye to drummer Gerry Conway

Goodbye to drummer Gerry Conway

Jerry Conwayveteran folk and rock drummer who has played with Cat Stevens, Jethro Tull, Fairport ConventionAl Stewart and others, died Friday at age 76.

The singer, guitarist and co-founder of Fairport Convention, Simon Nicol, paid tribute to Conway in a Facebook post over the weekend. He revealed that Conway had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease, which causes the gradual loss of motor neurons that control voluntary muscles.

Nicol called Conway “my closest friend on drums, someone I first worked with around 1968 on various sessions and toured with in Al Stewart's band a long time ago.” He praised his former bandmate as “wonderfully patient and wise, exasperatingly late, but always ready and eager to play, and blessed by his inner calm and solidity. I will miss him more than he can say.

Born in King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, in 1947, Conway made his recording debut with the British folk band Eclection on their 1968 self-titled album.

In 1970 he played in “Hark! The Village Wait” by Steeleye Span and “Zero She Flies” third album Al Stewart (1970) before joining the band of Cat Stevens as a recording and touring member. She played on seven consecutive Stevens albums, from 1971's “Teaser and the Firecat” to 1978's “Back to Earth.”

Conway later joined the Jethro Tull for 1982's “Broadsword and the Beast” and 1987's Grammy-winning “Crest of a Knave.” He also spent much of the decade touring with Richard Thompson of the Fairport Conventionfinally joining the group in 1998. Conway — decades after playing on three songs on the band's 1973 “Rosie” album — appeared on nine Fairport Convention albums, from 1999's “The Wood and the Wire” through “ Shuffle and Go” in 2020. Conway left the group in 2022 after being diagnosed with ALS.

Yusuf / Cat Stevens also paid tribute to Conway over the weekend, writing on social media: “Sadly my grand old drummer, Gerry Conway, has just passed away. What a guy, and what ingenuity and style. May God grant him the beautiful reward of eternal peace.”