Beatles collaborator David Mason loses leukaemia fight at 85 while Cocker and Hendrix bandmate Cornell Dupree passes away at 69

David Mason and Cornell Dupree

David Mason and Cornell Dupree

The classical musician best known for playing the trumpet solo in the Beatles’ Penny Lane has died at the age of 85 of leukaemia.

David Mason was brought into Abbey Road studios in January 1967 by producer George Martin after Paul McCartney decided his song needed horns.

At 41 Mason was already an established professional – but he’d never heard of the Fab Four. He brought over a dozen instruments with him before picking the piccolo trumpet and performing the celebrated passage.

He later played on other Beatles tracks including A Day in the Life, Magical Mystery Tour and All You Need is Love, and was paid the equivalent of £80 in today’s money for each session.

Mason, who was also a trumpet professor at the Royal College of Music, London, remembered: “I didn’t know who they were – for me it was just another job. I’ve spent a lifetime playing with top orchestra, but I’m most famous for playing on Penny Lane.”

Meanwhile, session guitarist Cornell Dupree, who appeared on over 2500 recordings during his career, has died at the age of 69 of lung cancer.

He was known as “Uncle Funky” and started out in the King Curtis Band before going on to work alongside Jimi Hendrix in the axe legend’s early days.

As a member of the Atlantic Records studio band he played guitar on Aretha Franklin’s Respect and later recorded with Joe Cocker, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Sam Cooke and Fats Domino.

Dupree was a founding member of the house band for US TV show Saturday Night Live and also enjoyed a solo career.

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