John Spinks, Guitarist and Songwriter of The Outfield, Dies at 60

5:54 PM PST 07/09/2014 by Colin Stutz, Billboard
Columbia Records
The Outfield

The musician's band charted eight Billboard hot 100 hits.

John Spinks, guitarist and songwriter for British pop rock trio The Outfield, died Wednesday following a fight with liver cancer. He was 60. 

The Outfield charted eight Billboard Hot 100 hits in 1986-92, led by its No. 6 debut smash "Your Love." The band's debut album, Play Deep, reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200, spending 66 weeks on the chart and going Platinum, according to the RIAA.

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"For me, John Spinks epitomized songwriting and music. His undying love for it was unmatched," said Dave Harris, the Outfield's former manager and host of the "Retro Rewind" radio show. "I think John was master of the melody; his riffs gave The Outfield life, his melodies made those songs memorable. As a teen, I was a huge fan and inspired by them. As a man, I got to manage them and tour with them. I saw firsthand how much John loved music. It was an honor. He'll be missed."

Spinks and his bandmates, Tony Lewis (vocals, bass) and Alan Jackman (drums), first played together in a 1970s power-pop band called Sirius B. Years later, the Manchester trio reformed under the name The Baseball Boys and were signed to Columbia/CBS Records in 1984, eventually changing their name to The Outfield. 

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Following the success of Play Deep, the band's releases continued to chart through the 1980s. In the early '90s, they took an extended hiatus, playing only occasional, discrete low-key pub shows, and toward the turn of the century and into the 2000s, they released a number of rarities and live compilations. In 2011, after Jackman had left the band during the down years, the three original members reunited to record Replay, their final studio album.

The band announced Spinks' death on Facebook with a message to fans:

"We would like to thank you for 'Your Love' and the continued support you have given John throughout his career. He loved making music and playing his guitar. He found pleasure knowing that his music made people happy and brought them fond memories. He worked hard with many days in pain to finish the Replay album. There were times when he could barely pick up his guitar, but he refused to give up knowing he would disappoint fans. The hardest day for John was when he put his guitar in its case announcing his hands could no longer play.

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"During the last months of his life, John, Tony and Alan wrote new material. What the future holds for this is unclear at the time of this writing."

This story first appeared on Billboard.com.

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