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Alan Hull: memorial mooted for Lindisfarne lead singer



The former manager of the Tyneside rock group Lindisfarne is calling for a memorial to the lead singer Alan Hull in Newcastle.


Hull died on 17 November, 1995. He was only 50 but it was no rock-and-roll "crash and burn".


His former manager, Barry McKay, described him as down to earth, a defender of the "underprivileged, the misunderstood and the working class".


Mr McKay said: "He was a true son of Newcastle and he was proud of his city."


Now, 16 years after his death, there are renewed calls for a memorial to the musician and poet in his home town.


Mr McKay approached the city council in 2006 to discuss the idea but said he was told there was little interest among councillors.


The council has had a change of heart - and a change of members - and is now prepared to consider any inexpensive ideas from local people.


Henri Murison, cabinet member for quality of life, said: "The city council is committed to finding a way to best recognise his achievement and many of the other achievements of the legends of this local area.


"Lindisfarne did [for] Newcastle what the Beatles did for Liverpool."


He added the council needed to make sure that it was "not seen to be wasting money".


Musical memorial

Lindisfarne, hugely popular with local audiences in the 1970s, were one of the biggest bands to come out of Tyneside.


When Alan Hull died, an early day motion in the House of Commons - supported by MPs from all over the country, not just the North East - noted that he "not only brought great pleasure to millions of music lovers but was a dedicated socialist who cared deeply for his fellow man".


The timing of this call for a memorial to Alan Hull is apt - it is 40 years since the release of Lindisfarne's famous Fog on the Tyne.


The idea is supported by the band's former drummer, Ray Laidlaw.


He said: "Alan's real memorial is his music, that's never going to go.


"If you're talking about a physical memorial I'm not sure if a statue is the thing, I don't think Alan would be very keen on that, and you've got to look at it from his point of view. He would like the kudos but I think he'd much rather have a pub named after him or something like that, or a railway engine. Or a street perhaps."


'The best gig'


Former manager Barry McKay would like a statue of Hull holding a guitar

When Newcastle City Council originally decided against a memorial Barry McKay said he was disappointed.


But his belief that Alan Hull was inextricably linked with Tyneside has made him determined to see a memorial in the place he "put on the map".


Ray Laidlaw said: "[Alan] loved this region. Playing in Newcastle City Hall was always the best gig for him, no matter where else we played.


"And all of his art, his writing, his music... everything he did, all his lyrics were all filtered through his north-eastern sensibility."


He wishes the sentiment had come earlier.


He said: "He was a hugely talented songwriter and I think in some ways he never really got his just recognition when he was alive."

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It's overstating the case more than a little to say "Lindisfarne did [for] Newcastle what the Beatles did for Liverpool", but Alan Hull was a good songwriter and a local character and probably deserves his memorial.


I went to the very first of Lindisfarne's legendary Christmas concerts at the City Hall, in 1971, and it was a great night. Legendary. I then went to another one, sometime in the early '80s, out of curiosity, and it had all depressingly turned into a ritual.


Knew this Barry McKay, too. He was the cousin of a friend and had a record shop on the Westgate Road.

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