Al James, Former Showaddywaddy Bassist, Dies at 72

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Showaddywaddy posed together in the grounds of a country house in England circa 1980. the group are, clockwise from left: singer Buddy Gask (1945 - 2011), bassist Al James, guitarist Russ Field, v

Al James, the former bassist for British 1950s pop revival band Showaddywaddy, has died at age 72.

According to BBC News, James (born Geoffrey Betts), died on Friday (Nov. 16) after suffering a fall at home. James joined the Leicester-bred band in 1973 and played with them through his retirement in 2008. A popular retro rock act in the style of Sha Na Na, Showaddywaddy was best known for performing a mix of originals and covers of early rock hits by the likes of Eddie Cochran, Chubby Checker, Sam Cooke and Buddy Holly.

A spokesperson for the group could not be reached for comment at press time. Former Showaddywaddy singer Dave Bartram told the BBC that James was a "great mate and I loved the guy to bits...he just had that little bit of something different to offer. His sense of mischief and fun -- that's the unforgettable. He lived life to the full. He loved the rock and roll lifestyle...he was a good bloke."

Bartram said he spoke to James in the hospital before the bassist died, when he asked Bartram if he would speak at his funeral, a wish the singer said he intends to honor. The glammy band's first hit single was 1974's "Hey Rock 'n' Roll," the first of 15 UK Top 20 singles during the '70s, according to BBC News. James appeared on more than half a dozen albums with the group -- whose unique lineup included two singers, two guitarists, two bass players and two drummers -- including their 1974 self-titled debut, as well as 1975's Step Two, 1976's Trocadero, 1977's Red Star and 1979's Crepes and Drapes.

Watch "Hey Rock 'n' Roll" below.