Former Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi died in London today (Jan. 28) aged 60. He had been suffering from stomach cancer. Capaldi was a member of Traffic from its formation in 1967 until the band finally
Former Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi died in London today (Jan. 28) aged 60. He had been suffering from stomach cancer.
Capaldi was a member of Traffic from its formation in 1967 until the band finally dissolved in 1974. He subsequently re-invented himself as a singer and songwriter. Along with fellow Traffic members such as Steve Winwood and Dave Mason, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Capaldi was born Nicola James Capaldi Aug. 2 1944 into a musical family of Italian origins in Evesham, near Birmingham, United Kingdom. He joined his first band at the age of 14 and enjoyed local success as drummer and lead vocalist with the Hellions in the mid-1960s. The band, which also featured Mason, released three unsuccessful singles on the Pye label, before Mason departed. The band later changed its name to Deep Feeling.
Jam sessions at Birmingham club the Elbow Room with former bandmate Mason, Winwood (then with the Spencer Davis Group) and saxophonist Chris Wood led to the demise of Deep Feeling and the formation of Traffic in 1967. The band signed to Island Records and was an immediate success, scoring a string of platinum albums.
Capaldi released his first solo album "Oh How We Danced" on Island in 1972. Traffic split after recording nine albums on which Capaldi and Winwood wrote the majority of the material. Capaldi re-emerged as a solo artist in 1974 with "Whale Meat Again," and scored U.K success the following year with the top 5 single "Love Hurts," taken from his 1975 album "Short Cut Draw Blood." The single went on to chart internationally, although it was only a minor U.S. hit.
Later solo albums on Island and Atlantic enjoyed mixed fortunes, although "Fierce Heart" (Atlantic) provided a top 30 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983. Throughout, Capaldi remained in demand as a musician and songwriter.
From the 1970s onwards, he worked as a writer or musician live or in the studio with such names as Bob Marley, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton and the Eagles. Clapton and George Harrison also appeared on solo Capaldi recordings.
Capaldi and Winwood reformed Traffic in 1994 for an album and tour, and Capaldi and Mason toured together in 1998. However, Capaldi had to pull out of a second proposed Traffic reunion in 2004 because of ill health.
His long-time manager, London-based John Taylor, describes the artist as one of the most influential song-writers of his generation. "He attacked life with energy and passion and provided a benchmark for today's writers and musicians to emulate," says Taylor. "It was an honor to be his manager for 26 years and a constant pleasure to be his friend." Taylor heads his own firm, John Taylor Management.
Capaldi's final solo album was "Poor Boy Blue," released in the United States by Steamhammer/SPV in November 2004. It included guest appearance by Winwood and guitarist Gary Moore.
He is survived by his wife Aninha and two daughters Tabitha (28) and Tallulah (26).