Fans mourn death of Sheffield music legend Frank White

TRIBUTES are flooding in from fans and showbiz friends following the death of Sheffield music legend Frank White.

Saturday, 28th March 2020, 7:47 pm
Frank White with his famous 1964 white twin neck Gibson guitar - the first of its model to be shipped from the States Picture Chris Etchells

The singer and blues guitarist - whose admirers included Elvis Presley and Eric Clapton - passed away after a long illness, it is understood.

Fellow Sheffield star Reverend and the Makers frontman Jon Mclure described him as 'Sheffield music royalty' and famed city music producer Alan Smyth, who worked with him and other local greats, including Arctic Monkeys, said he was "a legend and a massive inspiration for many".

In the 1960s Frank toured Europe with another local hero, The Crying Game pop star Dave Berry and the Cruisers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He played with Carl Perkins, Albert Lee and The Crickets.

It was widely reported that the super talented guitarist and singer was headhunted by The Rolling Stones after the departure of Mick Taylor and his Sheffield mate Joe Cocker also wanted him for The Grease Band.

Frank, the uncle of Sheffield recording star Richard Hawley, is regarded as a musician who could have matched the careers of Eric Clapton and Keith Richards if he’d wished.

But he put aside the chance of global fame and fortune in favour of family and faith.

He treated fans to his super talent every Friday for two decades at Pheasant Inn, at Sheffield Lane Top. He stopped performing publicly around five years ago after suffering a broken left shoulder, but hadn't ruled out a return completely.

Another claim to fame was owning the first white twin-neck Gibson guitar to be shipped from the United States in 1964 - recently back in the news when it was the subject of a life-size painting by local artist Roy Ridsdale.

Frank, who lived in Gleadless, leaves a wife, Jean, and two children, Joel and Jody.

Sheffield based producer Alan Smyth, who worked with Frank and has also recorded other local greats including Richard Hawley, Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Reverend and The Makers, posted his condolences to the family and said: "So sorry to hear this. He was a legend and a massive inspiration for many.. also a real pleasure to record."

Frank White

Author Neil Anderson said: "I've had the privilege of writing about him in many of my books and it was a true honour when he performed at the launch of my Dirty Stop Out's Guide to 1960s Sheffield book a few years ago.

"Few musicians spanned decades and generations like him. Sheffield will be a poorer place without him."

Sheffield singer songwriter John Reilly, using Frank's own often used term of endearment, said: "Great memories and thank you for the support and advice in those early Dolphin years ‘Old Boy’."

UK metal band Seventh Son put out a joint statement saying: " We are very sad to learn that legendary Sheffield guitarist Frank White has died. He started out touring Europe in the 60s with another local hero - Dave Berry. He’s played with Carl Perkins, Albert Lee and The Crickets and was once head hunted by the Rolling Stones!

Frank White with the distinctive double neck Gibson at Sheffield's Club 60 in the 1960s

Fan Richard Wilson said on his Twitter account @richsheff: "RIP Frank White a Sheffield music legend."

Sean Piggott @SeanPiggott2 said: "Sad to announce the passing of Frank White. Legendary guitarist, singer, songwriter. Friend of Joe Cocker and Dave Berry, Uncle to Richard Hawley. His band was often the go to band backing touring American Bluesmen back in the day. He will be missed.

Jennie Swift @SwiftJenswift10 said: "Had the honour of interviewing the legendary musician Frank White a few years ago what an amazing person RIP #sheffieldissuper #music #legend #memories."

Joza Knights @ThreadsAplenty said: "Very sad news. The Frank White Band had the practice room downstairs from the band I was in at The Gardeners Rest in Neepsend early 80s. Used to dash through our set and then listen to them."