Former Showaddywaddy bassist Al James dies aged 72

image captionAl James (front centre) died in hospital after suffering a fall

One of the original members of the pop group Showaddywaddy has died at the age of 72.

Bassist Al James, whose real name was Geoffrey Betts, died in hospital on Friday, three weeks after suffering a fall at his Market Harborough home.

Ex-Showaddywaddy frontman Dave Bartram told the BBC that James was "a great mate and I loved the guy to bits".

The band, which formed in Leicester in 1973, specialised in revivals of hit songs from the 1950s and 1960s.

image captionThe group performing Under the Moon of Love in 1976

James was with the group for 35 years and retired in 2008.

Bartram said: "He just had that little bit of something different to offer.

"His sense of mischief and fun - that's the unforgettable.

"He lived life to the full. He loved the rock and roll lifestyle... he was a good bloke."

image captionShowaddywaddy were regulars on Top of the Pops in the 1970s

The lead singer said he spoke to the retired bassist in hospital before he died.

"He's not one to show emotion, but he grabbed a hold of my hand and there was a little tear in his eye and he said to me 'would you say a few words at my funeral?'," Bartram said.

"It will be difficult, but it's something I intend to honour."

Romeo Challenger, Showaddywaddy's drummer since 1973, said: "He was one of the funniest people I have ever met - his anecdotes were hilarious - [he was] generous to a fault, and we all loved him."

image captionThe eight-piece group sold millions of records

The band had their first hit single, Hey Rock and Roll, in 1974.

The eight-piece group had 15 UK top 20 hit singles during the 1970s.

They sold millions of records, including top five hits Under the Moon of Love, You Got What It Takes and Three Steps to Heaven.

The band's appeal began to wane at the end of the decade although they have continued to record and tour.

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