Drummie Zeb Dies: Singer For UK Reggae Group Aswad Was 62

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Angus “Drummie Zeb” Gaye, who sang and played drums on “Don’t Turn Around,” “Shine” and other hits for the UK reggae band Aswad, died September 2. He was 62.

The band announced his death on its Instagram page but did not provide details. “It is with deepest regret and profound loss that we have to announce the passing of our brother Angus ‘Drummie’ Gaye,” the post reads (see it here). “Drummie was much loved and respected by both family, friends and peers alike. [He] has left us to join our ancestors and leaves a huge void both personally and professionally.”

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Gaye and his bandmates Tony Robinson and Brinsley Dan Forde met at Holland Park School in London and released a number of singles that dented the UK chart before scoring big with “Don’t Turn Around” in 1988 (see the video below). The jaunty track penned by Albert Hammond and Diane Warren hit No. 1 in Great Britain and New Zealand and reached the Top 10 in other countries including Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands but failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 stateside.

Buoyed by the international success of fellow UK reggae band UB40 at the time, the single was from Aswad’s from 12th album, Distant Thunder, which hit No. 10 in the UK and went gold there. The LP dented the Billboard 200 stateside.

Aswad — a proper noun that means “black” in Arabic — followed up “Don’t Turn Around” with “Give a Little Love” later in 1988, reaching No. 11 in the UK, and had another Top 10 hit there with “Shine” in 1994. That song also went Top 10 in Ireland.

The band released more than 20 studios albums from its self-titled 1976 debut through 2009’s City Block, 10 of which made the UK charts.

Born on September 24, 1959, Gaye also produced songs for acts including the Swedish group Ace of Base, whose 1994 take on “Don’t Turn Around” became an international hit. Taken from the group’s multiplatinum debut album, the remake made the Top 5 in the U.S. and UK and topped the Canadian single chart. It also hit the Top 10 in several other countries including Denmark, Germany, Finland, Scotland and Iceland.

Gaye also produced tracks for Vanessa Mae, Carroll Thompson and others.

Here’s the video for Ace of Base’s version of “Don’t Turn Around”:

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