The Wurzels drummer John Morgan dies after contracting Covid

The Wurzels' John Morgan [left] has passed away
(Image credit: Hayley Madden/Redferns/Getty)

John 'Morgy' Morgan, drummer for British band, The Wurzels has passed away in hospital aged 80 after contracting Covid-19 while on tour with the band earlier this month. 

The news was released by a statement posted to the West Country comedy ’Scrumpy and Western’ band’s social media channels. 

“With heavy hearts we tell you that John Morgan sadly died yesterday [17 December] in Gloucester Royal Hospital after contracting Covid. Hailed as the Wurzels oldest drummer in captivity he joined the band in 1981 and had been performing with them up until 2 weeks ago.”

The band’s accordian player and longest-serving member, Tommy Banner added, “We can’t believe we shan’t ever see you behind those drums again - we thought you were indestructible. We shall miss you John, you grumpy old b****r, with your sharp, quirky Forest wit - oh, you were also a bloomin’ great drummer, just like your hero, Charlie Watts”

The band's manager, Sil Willcox also paid tribute: "We are all in shock, Morgy had the driest of humour and the kindest of hearts and all are [sic] thoughts are with his family. The band intend to continue but John will always be remembered and loved by his fans, friends and band."

The Wurzels are known for their comedy-folk and bluegrass songs themed around cider, farming and rural life, often parodying popular hits. Their major breakthrough came in 1976 prior to Morgan’s tenure in the band with The Combine Harvester - an adaption of Melanie’s Brand New Key and I Am The Cider Drinker, a re-working of George Baker Selection’s (Paloma Blanca).

Morgan joined The Wurzels as the band’s first permanent drummer in 1981 and continued to perform with them up until his death on albums such as Ner Mind The Bullocks Ere’s The Wurels, Top of The Crops and The Wurzels Christmas Album amongst others.  

Despite a recurring in-joke between fans and the band at live gigs that Morgan was “the oldest drummer in the land”, Morgan was actually born in 1941, hailing from the Forest of Dean. 

The Wurzels are scheduled to perform at two gigs in the next week.

Stuart Williams

I'm a freelance member of the MusicRadar team, specialising in drum news, interviews and reviews. I formerly edited Rhythm and Total Guitar here in the UK and have been playing drums for more than 25 years (my arms are very tired). When I'm not working on the site, I can be found on my electronic kit at home, or gigging and depping in function bands and the odd original project.