Tributes have been paid to veteran Birmingham guitarist and singer Roger Hill, who died this week, aged 66.
Roger, who played with The Brumbeats, The Uglys and The Exception, died at Good Hope Hospital, Sutton Coldfield, on Tuesday, November 8.
Dave Pegg, from Fairport Convention, said: ‘‘Everybody loved Roger, he didn’t have an enemy in the world. He was a wonderful guitarist and a lovely man.’’
Roger, from Erdington, was a mainstay of the Brumbeat music scene of the early 1960s, performing alongside his brother Bobby in Bobby and the Dominators and in The Plazents, the resident act at the Plaza Ballroom in Old Hill where they backed visiting American artists such as Jerry Lee Lewis and The Ronettes.
They signed to Decca Records in 1963 and changed their name to The Brumbeats. Despite appearing on the same bills as The Beatles they had little chart success and broke up in 1965.
The following year Roger joined The Uglys alongside Steve Gibbons and bassist Dave Pegg with whom he formed The Exception in 1967.
Dave said that if Roger had not been a better guitarist than him musical history might have been very different.
‘‘We both went for the guitarist’s job in The Uglys and when Roger was successful Steve Gibbons suggested I switch to bass. If I hadn’t, I may not have gone on to play with Fairport Convention and Jethro Tull and help create the Cropredy Festival.’’
Roger went on to gig at The Railway in Curzon Street with Trevor Burton and Tom Farnell and he later teamed up again with Dave Pegg in Fairport Convention for an American tour in the mid-’70s.
Always a lover of jazz, Roger found success with the Chris Barber Jazz Band from the late ‘70s to the mid ‘80s.
Steve Gibbons said: ‘‘I have many great memories of Roger, both professionally and socially. I’ve been on stage with him hundreds of times, the last time was earlier this year at the Prince of Wales, off Broad Street, when I got up and sang with him.
‘‘He was an incredible character and a wonderful musician, way ahead of most people of his generation in many respects because he was so versatile.
"His chief influences were Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and Django Reinhardt, and he could play all their music, he was well versed in all their stuff.’’
Saxophonist Nick Pentelow, who played with Roger in Spitfire and the Old Horns Band, said: ‘‘Over the years he’s been quite an influence. He was a superb musician with a great musical knowledge.
‘‘The last time I played with him was in the Old Horns Band a couple of years ago. We did a few gigs and they were great fun.’’
Laurie Hornsby, author of the Brumbeat books Brum Rocks and Brum Rocks On, said: ‘‘Roger was a real character and a wonderful guitarist.’’
Nanette Allen, who runs the Pavilion Blues Club in Shenstone, knew Roger for 20 years and was with him when he died.
‘‘He was my best friend, my mentor and my inspiration,’’ she said.