When I checked my email this morning, I found one from someone I know in the music industry that I haven’t corresponded with in a few years. He knew of my great love of 60s psychedelic music and how much I loved bands like Andromeda. He wanted to be sure that I heard the sad news that John Du Cann had died yesterday of what appears to be a heart attack.
His real name was” John Cann,” and he was probably best known as the guitarist for Atomic Rooster. His first notable band was the Attack, formed in London during the 60s. The Attack broke up in 1968 and several members, including John Cann, formed a new band call Andromeda.
In 1969, Andromeda released their only album, shown above, and it remains seminal among collectors and aficionados of 60s psych music. The album and the band remain among my favorites and I often wished that they had released more than one album. Back in July, I did a blog post on what I listen to and it was called “Farfisa and Fuzz.” In it I included a mini set I intended to play that included many of my favorite psych tunes of the era. On that list was Sleep Like a Child by Andromeda, one of my favorite songs and one that only exists as a demo. Again, what more would have come from them if they had survived longer?
John Cann’s departed to join Atomic Rooster, a new band forming from members of the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, which had just broken up. John had been invited to join the new band as a guitarist and vocalist, which led to the breakup of Andromeda. They soon began touring with Deep Purple and released their first album, Atomic Rooster, in 1970. After that first album their drummer, Carl Palmer, one of the original members from the Crazy World of Arthur Brown, left the group to help form Emerson Lake & Palmer, and would later be the drummer for Asia. John Cann stayed with Atomic Rooster for two more albums before leaving over creative differences.
In 1974 John Cann toured with Thin Lizzy and, sometime after that, officially changed his name to “John Du Cann” on the advice of his manger and began a solo career. In 1977 he began work on a new album, The World’s Not Big Enough, which was produced by Francis Rossi of the Status Quo. The album was not released until 1992! His only hit after leaving Atomic Rooster occurred in 1979 with Don’t Be a Dummy, which he worked on with Gary Newman.
I will do a special mini set in tribute to John Du Cann today during my show. He does lead guitar and vocals in both of these songs.
Devil’s Answer, Atomic Rooster, 1971 (written by John Du Cann)Sleep Like a Child, Andromeda, 1969