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Tony Ashton

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Tony Ashton

Tony Ashton
Tony Ashton, New Year's Eve at the Hotel Post, Zermatt, Switzerland, 1972
Background information
Birth name Edward Anthony Ashton
Born (1946-03-01)March 1, 1946
Blackburn, Lancashire, England
Died May 28, 2001(2001-05-28) (aged 55)
London, England
Genres Rock
Occupation(s) Pianist, keyboardist, singer, composer, producer, artist
Instruments Piano, keyboard, vocals
Years active 1959–2001

Tony Ashton (March 1, 1946 – May 28, 2001) was an English rock pianist, keyboardist, singer, composer, producer and artist.


  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
  • Final years 3
  • Discography 4
    • Albums 4.1
    • Live 4.2
      • Video 4.2.1
    • Singles/EPs 4.3
    • Session work/Appearances 4.4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Born Edward Anthony Ashton in

  • Tony Ashton art gallery
  • A Tribute to Tony Ashton
  • Tony Ashton in Belsize Park
  • Ashton, Gardner and Dyke featuring Tony Ashton -vocals, piano and keyboard- 1969 on YouTube

External links

  1. ^ Tony Ashton Obituary, by Chris Welch, The Independent - London
  2. ^ a b c Tony Ashton Obituary.
  3. ^ A Tribute to Tony Ashton, by Rasmus Heide
  4. ^ Tony Ashton
  5. ^ Tony Ashton website.


Year Title Artist(s)/Band Notes
1971 Gemini Suite Jon Lord with The London Symphony Orchestra conductor: Sir Malcolm Arnold; vocals: Tony Ashton
1973 One and One is One Medicine Head
It's Only a Movie Family
BBC Live in Concert Family keyboards and backing vocals: Tony Ashton
Abyss Jimmy Thomas
Rainbow McGuiness Flint
If It Was So Simple Longdancer
Rigor Mortis Sets In John Entwistle
1974 Windows Jon Lord Lead vocal: Tony Ashton
Buzzard Tucky Buzzard
Thru a Five Medicine Head
The Butterfly Ball and The Grasshopper's Feast Roger Glover and Guests
1975 Mad Dog John Entwistle
Broken Glass Stan Webb
1976 Wizard's Convention Wizard's Convention
1978 The Creeper Stan Webb's Chicken Shack
1981 Roadie's Concerto Chicken Shack
1982 Before I Forget Jon Lord vocals: Tony Ashton
1985 Wind in the Willows Eddie Hardin
1991 My Way on the Highway Guitar Shorty and Otis Grand
1994 Unlucky Boy Chicken Shack
1995 Eddie Hardin's Wizard's Convention 2 Eddie Hardin and Friends
1997 Eddie Hardin's Wizard's Convention 3 Eddie Hardin and Friends
1999 The Masters: Wizard's Convention Eddie Hardin/Wizard's Convention
2006 Butterfly Ball - DVD Roger Glover and Friends

Session work/Appearances


Dear everyone,
Thanks for all the messages and enquiries -
recent tests show the cancer has spread
and I've decided to refuse further treatment and come home.
So - thanks to all, have a drink for me - cheers and bollox ...
- Tony Ashton.

Tony Ashton died from cancer on 28 May 2001 at his home in London. He was 55. Shortly before his death, he sent this message:

By the early 1990s, Tony Ashton had got back on his feet and began to develop his second career, as an artist, specialising in idiosyncratic drawings and more elaborate paintings. He had always dabbled in art as a minor hobby but became very serious about it, thanks to his mother in-law who owned an art gallery. Many of Ashton's paintings were bought by the television presenter and DJ Chris Evans for exhibition at his art gallery, Well Hung, in Notting Hill. Apart from selling a lot of paintings (ink drawings and oil/acrylic), his work can be seen on the covers of various CDs, including his maxi-single Mr Ashton Sings Big Red and Other Love Songs.[4] In 1996, Ashton played in some gigs in Germany and reunited with Bernie Marsden. Together they played at various Festivals (in Norway and in the UK). In 1999, when he became seriously ill, a special benefit concert was recorded and filmed at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, featuring the many diverse talents of a number of Ashton's friends and colleagues over the years, including Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Micky Moody, Bernie Marsden, Howie Casey, Chris Barber, John Entwistle, Zak Starkey, Pete York, Zoot Money, Joe Brown, Geoff Emerick, Mike Figgis and Ewan McGregor.[5] In the early nineties, Ashton also wrote the first of a planned trilogy of books, which has tales of various aspects of his career including Paice Ashton Lord, the Gastank TV series, and his love affair with Zermatt in Switzerland, which he first visited with Ashton Gardner & Dyke in 1970, and which gave him the title for the book: Zermattitis: a musicians' guide to going downhill fast. It has been recently published by Wymer Publishing, as a limited edition with a DVD of rare and previously unreleased film of Ashton Gardner & Dyke, including a live performance from Montreux Jazz Festival 1970.

Final years

Tony Ashton and Jon Lord, 1990.

During the eighties Ashton co-hosted a TV show with Rick Wakeman called "GasTank". The show was aired every two weeks and, on each episode, there were guests ranging from Phil Lynott to Ian Paice who sat in with the show's in-house band led by Ashton and Wakeman (others were Tony Fernandez and Chas Cronk). In between performances, the guests were interviewed by Wakeman. In 1984, Ashton was given a very small budget to record an album for EMI in Switzerland. The result was the album Live In The Studio, recorded in less than three days. After that, Ashton went through some hard times due to ill health and lack of work. Although he continued to gig here and there, he did not release anything until 1988 with a single called "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning". In 1986 he married Sandra Naidoo and adopted her daughter Indira.[2]

In August 1976, when Purple split, Jon Lord and Ian Paice found themselves with a lot of free time on their hands and a need to steer away from the hard rock scene. The logical step to take was to call on their old friend Tony Ashton. The result was the formation of Paice Ashton Lord, a band rooted in funk, jazz and rock. The line-up was completed by future Whitesnake guitarist Bernie Marsden and bass player Paul Martinez. They recorded Malice In Wonderland in Munich and a nationwide tour of the UK was set in motion. Unfortunately the tour was cancelled halfway because of big financial losses. The band broke up leaving Ashton without a record deal and not many future prospects.[2]

Tony met Roger Glover's Butterfly Ball project.[3] In these years, Ashton and Lord found a second home in Zermatt, an alpine resort in Switzerland, sometimes to ski, but more often to offer giant and brilliant non-profit gigs in a unique complex (one hotel-two night-clubs-two restaurants and four pubs) called "Hotel Post" which was run by American-born Karl Ivarsson. Ashton managed to come to the place almost until his death, and Jon has been a regular visitor until his death even if the "(in)famous" hotel did not exist anymore.

Ashton also played with "The College Boys", "The Executives", the "Mastersounds" and on sessions with Eric Clapton and Paul McCartney When Ashton, Gardner and Dyke broke up in 1973, Ashton briefly joined Family, and played a prominent role on the last Family album "It's Only A Movie" sharing lead vocal duties with Roger Chapman on the title track and also on "Sweet Desiree".

Tony Ashton in 1971.

In the 1970s, Ashton formed a new group with Remo drummer Roy Dyke and bass player Kim Gardner. They called themselves Ashton, Gardner and Dyke. The trio recorded three albums, but gained recognition in the United Kingdom in 1971, when the single "Resurrection Shuffle" reached number three on the UK Singles Chart. Their music, which was all composed by Ashton, was a unique fusion of R&B and jazz and very innovative and ahead of its time. After such a sudden success, they failed to get any more hit singles and broke up in 1973. Ashton said: "The hit backfired on us and we ended up playing cabaret again. The best thing we did was playing with Herbie Mann at Ronnie Scott's. We wanted to be an album band, but once you've got a big hit, you're in the pop league."[2]

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