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Home Maidstone News Article
A pioneer of the music scene in Maidstone has died.
Eric Snowball passed away at his home in Tonbridge Road, Maidstone, on Thursday, July 3, after a three-year battle with cancer.
He was 77.
In 1959, with the arrival of rock and roll, the band morphed into The Zephyrs and became well known throughout the Maidstone area, arriving at gigs in a converted yellow ambulance. Mr Snowball played lead guitar.
In 1962, they were asked by record producer Joe Meek if they wanted to do a new instrumental song he had, but the band turned it down because it would mean ditching their girl singer Sheila Baker. Their chivalry cost them dearly. Meek gave the record to the Tornadoes instead and Telstar became the first British record to top the American charts as well as spending five weeks at No 1 in Britain.
That led to the establishment of ESE Hire, which ultimately became one of Britain’s leading sound-hire companies.
The firm supplied sound systems for concerts by Charlie Rich, Glen Campbell, The Stylistics, Jerry Lee Lewis, AC/DC, Jeff Beck, The Bay City Rollers and - somewhat incongruously - Vera Lynn and the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra.
Mr Snowball leaves wife Margaret and a son Matthew and daughter Katie.
His nephew Ian Snowball is the drummer with Maidstone band Billy Wears Dresses.
There will be a funeral service for Eric Snowball at Vinters Park Crematorium in Bearsted Road, Maidstone, on Monday at 12.30pm.
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