Vivian Stanshall: Age 52 | Cause Of Death: FIRE

Bonzo Dog Band

(B. Vivian Anthony Stanshall, March 21, 1943 in East London; D. March 5, 1995)

Dubbed the “court jester of the underground rock scene in the 1960s” by influential DJ John Peel, Vivian Stanshall earned his greatest notoriety as the original tenor in the absurdist Bonzo Dog Band, although he was also a noted artist and comedian. Stanshall was born on March 21, 1943 in East London, England before World War II forced him and his mother to evacuate to Oxfordshire.  While attending art school under the well-known pop artist Peter Blake (the designer of the Beatles’ famed Sgt. Pepper album cover), Stanshall formed the Bonzo Dog Dada Band with flatmate Rodney Slater and fellow student Larry Smith in 1962…In 1981, Stanshall issued the autobiographical Teddy Boys Don’t Knit, followed three years later by the spoken word project Henry at Ndidis Kraal…Another autobiographical radio play, Essex Teenager to Renaissance Man, followed in 1994, along with film and voiceover work.  Vivian Stanshall died in a house fire on the morning of March 5, 1995. — Jason Ankeny, All-Music Guide