Veteran English record producer Gus Dudgeon was killed when his Jaguar veered off a motorway and down an embankment in Berkshire, England, last night (July 22). A female passenger in the car, believed

Veteran English record producer Gus Dudgeon was killed when his Jaguar veered off a motorway and down an embankment in Berkshire, England, last night (July 22). A female passenger in the car, believed to be his wife, was also killed.

Dudgeon, 59, was best known for his productions during the 1970s with Elton John, which yielded such hits as "Your Song," "Rocket Man," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me." In a statement, John said he was "devastated" by the news, describing Dudgeon as "an incredibly talented producer and a very dear friend. I will miss him terribly."

Born in Surrey on September 30, 1942, Dudgeon began his career as a tea boy at Olympic Studios, and by his early 20s was an in-house engineer at Decca Records' studios in West Hampstead. Early sessions there included recordings for Marianne Faithfull with producer Andrew Loog Oldham and session guitarists Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, later of Led Zeppelin.

The first album on which Dudgeon was listed as producer was rock act Ten Years After's self-titled set on Deram. In 1969, he produced David Bowie's first hit, "Space Oddity," and, later, albums by such artists as Chris Rea, Lindisfarne, and XTC, for whom he oversaw 1992's "Nonsuch." He also served as producer for such one-off projects as the tribute set to John and Bernie Taupin, "Two Rooms."

Billboard contributor David Stark says Dudgeon was enthusing in conversation only last week about a new British band he had been working with called Slinky, and that he'd also done some work on a tribute album to erstwhile musical comedy act the Bonzo Dog Band. Contributions had been recorded for that set some time ago by both Ringo Starr and the late George Harrison.

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