EDWIN STARR 1942 - 2003

Edwin was one of the true greats of soul music. Born in Nashville USA his whole life was about music. I wonder if when Charles Hatcher adopted the name Edwin Starr to launch his solo career, he had any idea how big a star he would become.

His powerful voice helped him in the early days when PA systems were very poor. He said, "You had to sing loud otherwise know one would hear you".

His early hits Agent, OO Soul, Headline News, 25 miles and Stop Her On Sight, made him a firm favourite with us young Cali goers of the early 70's. His protest song war was a worldwide hit and summed up the feeling of the 70s youth. I can still remember the way he would split the ballroom in two halves for us to accompany him with this anthem.

Edwin always had his finger on the pulse of the music scene and in the latter part of the 70's had two classic hits Contact and Happy Radio. He continued to record, appear on TV and perform a grueling schedule of live shows despite bad health in later years.

The first Cali-r to have a live act was in February 1998 and featured Edwin. The tour bus arrived at the Queensway hall and the band got off and left Edwin sound asleep on the back-seat.

He woke up an hour later said "hello" and straight away wanted to talk about the event. Nothing you asked him do was to much trouble and he had a way of making everyone working with him feel relaxed.

He briefed his band as to the style of show needed and after that his only requests were for the audience to enjoy themselves and if possible, a large helping of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which he loved. The Queensway Hall was sold out and Edwin gave everybody a night to remember.

When the Cali-r switched from The Queensway Hall to The Leisure Centre I needed a special show to convince people it would work there. Edwin accepted the invitation and once again gave an explosive performance. After the show he joked while being interviewed by Times journalist Dennis O'Donoghue, about diabetes never effecting his performance. He then made his way into the bar to talk to the people who had come to see him.

As a performer Edwin Starr was one of the best. On the occasions my wife Jacqui and I met Edwin, he could only be described as a kind gentle man who loved his audience, and appreciated everything they had done for him.

Edwin will shine in our hearts forever.

Sid Hudson

Seen here with Jaqui and Sid

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