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Humphrey Lyttelton died aged 86

Humphrey LytteltonVeteran jazz musician and radio host Humphrey Lyttelton has died aged 86, the BBC reports. Lyttleton also played on Radiohead’s 2001 album Amnesiac.

Humphrey Lyttelton was chairman of BBC Radio 4’s comedy panel show ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue‘ since 1972 and hosted BBC Radio 2’s The Best of Jazz for 40 years. He began playing the trumpet in 1936 and was still touring with his band up until his admission to hospital April 16.

Trumpeter Lyttelton played trumpet on Radiohead’s ‘Life In A Glass House‘, the closing track of Amnesiac. Talking about the collaboration with Radiohead he said: “The thing was that Jonny Greenwood who is that guy who does the talking, he wrote to me and said this is probably an awful cheek but we’ve got a track on our forthcoming CD where we’re having terrible trouble about how to treat it. And we discussed it the other day and thought that maybe the sort of New Orleans-y jazz – they’d heard some of my early records – so, what do you think about it? So I said “Yes” in that true journalistic fashion and then they sent me a tape of the tune – couldn’t make head or tail of it – and this is where the find out about it after, say “Yes” first, regret it later. But, we had a meeting up at the BBC and I said, sort of half jokingly, “Sounds to me as though the sort of thing that might go would be New Orleans funeral music” because as you know, it’s not ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ when they perform. And he said “Yeah, great idea”.

So we went in a studio and spent, I think it was, nine hours or seven hours, gradually moving. They didn’t know what they wanted us to do. We didn’t know what they wanted us to do and we gradually sort of moved towards it. And after seven hours, I said “That’s it, it’s not going to get any better than that”. There’s a certain sort of… working with Radiohead… has a certain Sorry I haven’t a Clue element, unexpected element about it because Thom Yorke, the singer, who writes wonderful things – that always reminded me of that Procol Harem thing… the surrealistic words – only his are far out and great. When they came to us we had to play the tape over and over and over and I began to get the feeling of what he was on about. It’s abstract, the concept of his lyrics.

Here’s Radiohead with Humphrey Lyttelton, Jimmy Hastings and John Barnes performing ‘Life in a glass House’ on Later… with Jools Holland in 2001.

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  • 🙁 Rest in Peace, Humphrey.

  • 🙁 Aww

  • r.i.p.

  • sad news – rip, hl 🙁

    i love that he’s wearing a waste shirt in that pic

  • Life in a Glass House… the new orlean-y jazz made it what it is. Amazing. We owe you big time Humphrey. Thanks for the touch of magic.

  • sad

  • thank you humphery.

  • ‘But, we had a meeting up at the BBC and I said, sort of half jokingly, “Sounds to me as though the sort of thing that might go would be New Orleans funeral music” because as you know, it’s not ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ when they perform. And he said “Yeah, great idea”.’

    LMFAO! That’s great. Sad news, though. R.I.P., Humphrey Lyttelton. : (

  • […] Abril, 2008 por sotavento me acabo de enterar a través de AtEase: el Sr. Humphrey Lyttelton murió ayer 25 de abril a la edad de 86 años. si no les suena el […]

  • Rest in Peace. Your music will live on forever.

  • R.I.P. Humphrey. What other 80 year-old would have agreed to have played on a Radiohead album? Well thank God you did because Life In A Glasshouse is one of the best Radiohead tracks ever. Thank you.

  • amazingly nice, caring , helping man

    he will be greatly missed

  • “…there’s someone listening in”

    we were listening Humph…I’ll never forget your notes…RIP

  • I really love that song, it really stands out in Radiohead’s catalogue for being so unique.

  • Beautiful, Simply beautiful version of their best song…play on…wherever…

  • A long time ago I borrowed this man’s name as my literary nom de plume. It is very sad to hear of his passing.

  • you ruined the song old mang!

    Humphrey Lyttelton is FUCKING DEAD!

    (ar)Rest (this mang) in PEACH

    [so it glows!]

  • […] reported earlier, Humphrey Lyttelton passed away last Friday. Jonny Greenwood posted on Radiohead’s blog […]

  • How sad – a brilliantly funny guy. I remember him on ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’ describing the charades show ‘Give us a Clue’: ‘It was the film round and Lionel Blair was watching Una Stubbs trying to pull off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes.’

    And that Later performance is absolute magic. Spine-chillingly good.

  • Well Im not going to pretend I know anything about Humpfrey, except i know that his a great musician.. funny how in that quote above how lyltton seemed completely oblivious to the greenhouse thing – those who dont know humfrey dont know jazz, those who dont know jazz dont know REAL music – as a radiohead fan, I havnt yet made the crossover to real music… lol who really reads my pathtic comments

  • he was a hilarious man, it’s such sad news

  • im staying with his great niece at the moment, just found out she was related to him…crazy

  • […] worked with the late, great Humphrey Lyttelton, but were Thom Yorke and his colleagues really bebopping and scatting at the Reading Festival? […]

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