Michael Dunford of Renaissance Dies
Renaissance, the much-beloved British band that combined rock, progressive and folk, lost one of its longest-serving members on Tuesday (Nov. 20). Guitarist Michael Dunford passed away after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage while dining at his house in Surrey, England. His age was not disclosed.
Dunford joined Renaissance in 1970 when founding members and former Yardbirds Jim McCarty and Keith Relf left. Before that Dunford had been in the Nashville Teens, which had a hit in 1964 with ‘Tobacco Road,’ which was covered by David Lee Roth on 1986’s ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile.’
Although Renaissance went through many changes over the next 42 years, Dunford was a constant, although he stopped touring with the band from 1972-3 to concentrate on composing their music. They broke up from 1987-98, and again in 2002, but reunited in 2009 for their 40th anniversary and maintained an active touring schedule over the next three years. Renaissance had just finished recording ‘Grandine il Vento,’ their first studio album in 12 years.
Led by the gorgeous voice of Annie Haslam, Renaissance’s biggest spell of popularity was in the mid-1970s, when 1975s ‘Scheherazade and Other Stories’ and 1977’s ‘Novella’ cracked the lower reaches of the Top 50 of the Billboard 200. Their single ‘Northern Lights’ reached the Top 10 in the U.K. in 1978.
Dunford is survived by his wife, two sons and a sister.
Watch ‘Northern Lights’