What happened to Mud's Les Gray?

20 December 2019, 11:39 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 10:28

Les Gray
Picture: BBC

Mud scored one of the biggest Christmas hits of all time in 1974 with 'Lonely This Christmas'.

The tune was a homage to songs by Elvis Presley, particularly 'Blue Christmas', with singer Les Gray showcasing his uncanny impression of The King.

Les was aged 28 when the song became the Christmas number one of 1974, but what did he do next?

  1. Who were Mud?

    Mud - Lonely This Christmas

    Mud were one of the biggest glam rock bands of the 1970s.

    They formed in 1966, and are best remembered for their hit singles 'Tiger Feet', the UK's best-selling single of 1974, and 'Lonely This Christmas'.

    After signing to Rak Records and teaming up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman, the band had 14 UK Top 20 hits between 1973 and 1976, including three number ones.

    The band was founded by lead guitarist Rob Davis, lead singer Les Gray, drummer Dave Mount and bassist Ray Stiles.

  2. When did Mud split up?

    Mud - Tiger Feet (Live TOTP 1974)

    The band decided to go separate ways in 1979.

    However, Les reformed the band as 'Les Gray's Mud' with a new lineup. This lasted on and off until 2004.

    The three remaining members were given permission by the other founding members of Mud, plus that of Gray's family, to continue using the band's name.

  3. When did Les Gray pass away?

    Les Gray MUD short interview - March 1996 at O-P-A

    In 1992, Les Gray moved with his wife Carol to live in the Algarve region of Portugal.

    He died on February 21 2004, of a heart attack, whilst fighting throat cancer.

    He was aged 57.

    Les blamed his throat cancer on his 50-a-day smoking habit. At one stage, doctors advised to remove his voicebox, but he opted for chemotherapy instead to cure the cancer and save his voice.

    At the time of his death, Les was planning to perform at a children's charity event in Glasgow this Saturday, where he would have reunited with Alvin Stardust and the Bay City Rollers.

  4. Who was Les Gray?

    Les Gray was born Thomas Leslie Gray on April 9, 1946.

    He was a self-taught musician, and played trumpet in his school years with a jazz band, and then, with his younger brother, formed the skiffle band The Mourners.

    After leaving school, he worked for Pearl & Dean, writing adverts, and later for Moss Bros.

    The Mourners eventually evolved into Mud, and they won the Search for Sound song contest in 1966.

    He later scored a number 32 solo hit in 1977 with his cover version of 'A Groovy Kind of Love'.

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