Herbie Flowers (born Brian Keith Flowers, 19 May 1938, in Isleworth, Middlesex) is an English studio musician specialising in bass guitar, double-bass and tuba, who came to prominence performing with David Bowie and Elton John, and then later Lou Reed. It is his bass that opens Reed's "Walk on the Wild Side" and underpins Bowie's "Space Oddity" as well as the Harry Nilsson song "Jump into the Fire". He also played bass on the Serge Gainsbourg album Histoire de Melody Nelson, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, and several George Harrison solo albums.
In 1969 Flowers co-founded the group Blue Mink and played on their song "Melting Pot", which reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart. He was a member of CCS, and later featured in a mid-1970s line-up of T. Rex. In 1979, shortly after taking part in the annual A Song For Europe contest, performing "Mr. Moonlight" with his group, "The Daisies", he became a co-founder of the band Sky, which had considerable success in the United Kingdom and Australia. Since the band's demise in the early 1990s Flowers has spent most of his time playing jazz. He also works as a bass guitar teacher at Ardingly College, and leads many 'rockshops' at schools, helping children to create and perform their own songs, as well as covering many others.
Flowers is also known for having composed the novelty hit "Grandad" for Clive Dunn, a fact that has tended to overshadow his many other achievements. According to Flowers on the BBC Radio 2 show Jammin', he came up with it after following an easy primer book on composing. All he needed was a hook, and he was struggling to come up with anything. He phoned a friend (Ken Pickett) who came round, ringing the doorbell, and the ding-dong from the doorbell provided the hook he needed. He is a long time user of a 1959 Fender Jazz Bass that he purchased from Manny's in New York City for only $79.
Flowers reprised his performance on bass guitar for the 2006 - 2007 live tour of the stage performance of Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of the War of the Worlds, also appearing in the 2006 DVD release of the production. He continued this role for the 2009 and 2010 live tours.
In September 2009 Herbie founded a community choir "Shoreham Singers by the Sea" which now (March 2010) has in excess of 200 members and is performing publicly to some acclaim.
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