Published Oct 11, 2011Veteran British composer David Bedford, who helped to orchestrate and arrange numerous beloved songs, has passed away. Bedford died of lung cancer earlier this month on October 1. He was 74.
After studying music at an early age, Bedford got his professional breakthrough in 1969, when he contributed Kevin Ayers's solo album Joy of a Troy. He then joined Kevin Ayers and the Whole World, a band that also featured up-and-coming composer Mike Oldfield.
Bedford went on to work closely with Oldfield, whose 1973 hit Tubular Bells spawned Bedford's spinoff The Orchestral Tubular Bells album. Oldfield also contributed to Bedford's works, including 1977's Instructions for Angels, which you can hear an extract from at the bottom of this page.
In addition to composing his own orchestral solo albums (which were frequently avant-garde), Bedford made his mark on popular rock and pop music. He helped to arrange music for numerous artists, including Elvis Costello, Deep Purple, Billy Bragg, A-ha, Robert Wyatt and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. His work with folk rocker Roy Harper led him to cross paths with Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page and the Who's Keith Moon.
The London-born Bedford was married three times and had seven children (six daughters and a son).