'Wild man of rock' Wee Willie Harris dies
'Wild man of rock' Wee Willie Harris has died.
The musician - who was dubbed the 'Britain's wild man of rock and roll' - passed away on Thursday (27.04.23) at age of 90 and the sad news was confirmed by wife of 47 years, Shelia, who called him the "perfect gentleman" and a "lovely husband".
She told The Sun newspaper: "He was a lovely man. A lovely husband. But it was music all the way with him. He was just such a brilliant man. He inspired so many - including Paul McCartney.
"He was an absolute sensation. He will be so, so missed by so many. He could still sing right up until the end and was always a perfect gentleman."
Dusty Springfield previously sang backing vocals for Willie on his 1966 track 'Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah' and representatives for the late star posted a tribute to him on her official Facebook page.
The statement read: "Sorry to hear of the death of Wee Will Harris on April 27. Back in 1966 Wee Willie recorded this song and had the best backing vocals ever, Dusty and Madeline [Bell]. "He came to Dusty Day [event] in 2013 and entertained us with his stories and songs."
Willie's former bandmate Tony Thorpe also added a tribute to the rocker: “Willie was a brother, father, teacher, therapist and friend to me and I miss him dreadfully. God bless you, guv, as I'm sure he is doing."
The rocker was born Charles William Harris in Bermondsey, London in 1933 but later became known as Wee Willie due to his diminutive stature.
He started his career in a bakery before stepping out of the kitchen to pursue a career in music, regularly performing at London's famous The 2i's Coffee Bar - which has been hailed as the birthplace of British rock 'n' roll - before eventually landing a record deal.
He released his debut single 'Rockin' At the 2 I's' - a nod to his performance venue - in 1957 and became a regular on the gig scene.
Wee Willie was known for his brightly-coloured hair and exuberant stage performances, and was said to have inspired the Beatles after he was mentioned in Sir Paul McCartney's biography. The music legend is said to have recalled queueing up to get Wee Willie's autograph outside the Liverpool Empire gig venue.
He released five albums over the years including 'Twenty Reasons To Be Cheerful' which was a nod to Ian Dury who previously mentioned Wee Willie in his song 'Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3'.
His last release - 'I Go Ape - Rockin' With Wee Willie Harris' landed in 2018 as part of a joint project with his biography.