Who Was Stuart Adamson, Who Died Recently Aged Just 43

Mon 24th Dec 2001 The AnswerBank

Q. How will people remember Stuart Adamson < xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 A. Anyone who remembers the 1980s will know the music made by Adamson and his band, Big Country. Their trademark was a guitar sound which critics and fans referred to as 'sounding like bagpipes'. This was a lazy label that Adamson personally hated! Formed in 1982 after the split of the punk-influenced Skids, Adamson was keen to write and record songs reflecting his interest in folk and roots music.

Contrary to popular belief, Adamson was not Scots by birth- his family moved from Manchester to Dunfermline, and Adamson grew up with the accent and musical traditions of his adopted country. He wrote story-telling songs, often backed by stirring anthem-style music, which he wanted to reflect the depth of history and culture he expressed. Any disco or party playing a Big County hit would result in guests linking arms and dancing round in an imitation of a Scottish jig.

Q. The news I've heard was a bit sketchy. How did he die

A.Reports confirm that Adamson hanged himself in a hotel room in Hawaii.

Q. Can we guess why Adamson took his life

A. The reason for any suicide can only really be known by the individual, but friends and colleagues say Adamson was battling a recurrence of the alcoholism that had plagued his earlier life and career. Having stayed sober for over ten years, he had begun drinking heavily again, and both friends and family were concerned for his health. Adamson's manager has speculated that difficulties with Adamson's second marriage – he was estranged from his wife Melanie – may have added to Adamson's personal pressures, although that suggestion remains unconfirmed.

Q. Could there be any other factors

A. It was known that Adamson was due to face a drink-driving charge in his adopted home of Nashville, where has lived for the last five years. But that the charge was relatively minor, and was unlikely to result in a custodial sentence.

Q. Was Adamson's band a success

A. Although Big Country's chart fame faded a few years ago, the band was still together until recently. As often happens, a band can find a sizeable audience outside the major music markets of the UK and USA, and Big Country had a large fan base worldwide, which kept them recording and touring until the late 1990s.

Big Country enjoyed eight Top 20 singles in the 1980s, and in their career they sold over 10 million albums. Among their career landmarks was the first privately funded concert in Russia, and an appearance performing at Live Aid.

Q. Why didn't their success last

A. That is one of the great questions which concern any band who can be a success in one decade, and virtually forgotten in the next. Big Country could have been the great 'Celtic' rock band, before that honour was taken by U2 who moved into supergroup fame as Big Country's star faded.

Q. So was Stuart Adamson's musical career over

A. No, although Big Country finally split for good last year, Adamson had formed a new band, The Raphaels, and seemed set to continue making music. Tragically, personal demons have overcome the sensitive nature of another artist. We extend sympathy to family friends and fans around the world.

http://www.theanswerbank.co.uk/Music/article/who-was-stuart-adamson-who-died-recently-aged-just-43/

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