Dave Greenfield, keyboard player with The Stranglers, has died at the age of 71. The news was confirmed in a statement on the band’s Facebook page, in which it was reported that Greenfield died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, having initially been admitted for heart problems.
Greenfield joined The Stranglers in 1975, at the start of their career, and remained part of the band for the rest of his life. They had been due to play a final UK tour, but this was cancelled in light of the coronavirus outbreak.
With a sound and style that was often compared to that of The Doors’ Ray Manzarek, Greenfield’s keyboard playing was a key element of The Stranglers’ sound. He was known for his use of the Hammond organ, but also played the Minimoog, various Oberheim synths and the PPG Wave.
In musical terms, Greenfield was largely responsible for writing Golden Brown, The Stranglers’ biggest hit. Initially passed up by the rest of the band, its unusual rhythmic structure and harpsichord backing didn’t mark it out as an obvious single, but it reached number 2 in the UK charts in 1982.
Greenfield’s fellow band members - and original Stranglers guitarist/singer/songwriter Hugh Cornwell - were quick to pay tribute to him on social media, and other musicians have followed suit.
I am very sorry to hear of the passing of Dave Greenfield. He was the difference between The Stranglers and every other punk band. His musical skill and gentle nature gave an interesting twist to the band. (1 of 2)May 4, 2020
Goodbye Dave Greenfield. Your sound has been a huge influence on our band and in my life too x x My thoughts are with Dave’s family and loved ones pic.twitter.com/jnWUarA990May 4, 2020
RIP Dave Greenfield, can’t believe this. pic.twitter.com/SBNIpDthFZMay 4, 2020
Very sorry to read about Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers dying. He was a great musician.May 4, 2020
RIP #DaveGreenfield #STRANGLERS keyboard player...May 4, 2020
Once in a lifetime, Tomorrow never knows, Gimme Shelter, certain records just are beyond any others, Golden Brown is on that list, RIP Dave GreenfieldMay 5, 2020