Drummer Gerry Conway has died aged 76

Gerry Conway, the drummer best known for his work with Fairport Convention and their wider folk-rock circle, has died at the age of 76.

Conway passed away on Saturday (March 29) after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease two years ago.

Born in Norfolk and brought up in London, he formed Eclection with Trevor Lucas in 1968, and through him came to be a member of Fotheringay, Sandy Denny‘s post-Fairport group.


He was also an in-demand session drummer, and in the ’70s performed on albums by Iain Matthews, John Cale, Steeleye Span, Mike McGear, Shelagh McDonald, Al Stewart, Denny and Cat Stewart, his long association with the latter beginning with 1971’s Teaser And The Firecat and running until the singer-songwriter’s retirement at the end of the decade.

In the 1980s he played with Richard Thompson, Jethro Tull and Pentangle – the latter’s Jacqui McShee his long-term partner – before joining Fairport Convention as a permanent member in 1998, a trifling 25 years after he appeared on three songs on their album Rosie. He remained with the group until he became ill in 2022.

In a warm note to “our dear friend and former drummer” on their website, Fairport wrote: “He brought to the band an impeccable understanding of ‘feel’ and comradeship, a unique sense of subtlety and a complete understanding of what was required.”


Simon Nicol also saluted his “dearest drumming pal”: “Wonderfully patient and wise, infuriatingly tardy (!) but always ready and eager to play, and blessed with his own inner calm and solidity, I’m going to miss him more than I can say.”