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STUART ADAMSON (R.I.P) (1958-2001)
07 February 2003

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Stuart Adamson, lead singer and guitarist with BIG COUNTRY has been found dead in a Honolulu hotel room on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Stuart's manager, Ian Grant, confirmed that the singer had been found dead on Monday,December 17th and Hawaiian police believe Adamson's death to have been suicide, although as I write, no official cause of death had been released.

Mr.Grant, who managed Adamson throughout his career, said: "I have just lost one of the finest people I have ever worked with or have been lucky enough to know."

Adamson had left his native Scotland for Nashville,
Tennessee to live with his second wife, Melanie Shelley. However, the couple had been estranged for six weeks when Shelley both reported him missing and filed for divorce on the same day, November 26th.

Adamson's movements during his final days are still something of a mystery as yet. His last known whereabouts on the mainland US was the Best Western Hotel in Nashville, where a credit card transaction shows he had checked out on December 3rd.

However, friends and Stuart's BIG COUNTRY band members were more than concerned for his safety. Although sober for the best part of a decade, Adamson's alcohol problem had apparently returned with a vengeance of late. Prior to his death BC guitarist Bruce Watson had said: "Stuart's alcoholism isn't a cheap publicity stunt, it is a disease and he needs help as soon as possible."














     
Adamson had also previously gone missing for some days in November 1999, forcing BIG COUNTRY to cancel Stadium dates, supporting BRYAN ADAMS in Scotland, but on that occasion he turned up safely shortly after in New Orleans.


Although actually born in Manchester, Stuart grew up in Crossgates, near Dunfermline, Fife, and formed one of Scotland's best punk bands, THE SKIDS, with future TV presenter, Richard Jobson in 1977. THE SKIDS signed to Virgin Records and delivered three albums including the excellent "The Absolute Game" in 1980, plus a string of excellent hit singles such as "Into The Valley", "Working For The Yankee Dollar" and "Woman In Winter", all of which your correspondent is still proud to own. The band also gained a reputation for strong live shows, featuring Adamson's heroic guitar style. Besides, who else has ever produced a finer "Coronation Street" tribute than THE SKIDS' evergreen "TV Stars" from 1978?


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Adamson quit THE SKIDS early in 1981, later admitting to a nervous breakdown, an formed BIG COUNTRY in 1982 with Watson, bassist Tony Butler and drummer Mark Brzezecki. Commencing with two superb albums "THE CROSSING" (1983) and "Steeltown" (1984), BIG COUNTRY went on to make 8 successful albums in all and left behind another lengthy trail of hit singles like "In A Big Country","Wonderland" and the moving "Chance", at one stage even looking likely to usurp burgeoning superstars U2 in the passionate, Stadium rock stakes. Although regularly referred to by critics as the band who "make guitars sound like bagpipes",BIG COUNTRY pioneered a defiant, anthemic and distinctive sound, often utilising producer Bill Nelson's infamous E-Bow guitar effect.

When Stuart recently went missing, his first wife Sandra, from Dunfermline, confirmed he was due to appear in court in March 2002 on a drunk driving charge.

Ian Grant, meanwhile, should have the last word in tribute to the man who encouraged this particular sad teenager to try and master the guitar himself: "He was a great guy and I know there will be a lot of people who feel like I do - in some kind of void."
  author: TIM PEACOCK 07 February 2003