TRIBUTES have been paid to a Blackburn musician who played drums for Marty Wilde and went on to hit the charts with his own band in South Africa.

Peter Taylor, who has died aged 66, played in various bands in Blackburn in the 1960s, before jetting out to Johannesburg, where his band Copperfield had a number two hit with a cover of Hot Chocolate’s ‘So you win again’.

He also found work as a comedian and actor, and was a member of the entertainment crew that helped save hundreds of passengers when the Greek-owned cruise liner MTS Oceanos sunk in the Indian Ocean in 1991.

The dad-of-four started his career as the lead singer of Blackburn bands Take 5 and Weather, who were popular acts on the North West club circuit, before teaming up with rock ‘n’ roller Marty Wilde in 1966.

In 1971 he almost joined heavy rockers Deep Purple, but Dave Coverdale and Glen Hughes joined instead, before he was offered the chance to form Copperfield and fly to South Africa on a six month tour.

He ended staying in Johannesburg until he moved back to England about four years ago, to live near his son Christian, just outside Bristol.

Christian, 47, said: “When we were growing up in Dewhurst Street in Blackburn I remember a constant stream of musicians at our house. He was always the black sheep and certainly lived the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle - it was the 1970s and you could never tie him down.

“As a child I struggled with it and never understood why he wasn’t around, but I always wanted to get to know him, and we became very close when my daughter was born in 2003 - he wanted to be a good grandfather. Some people would say he was thoughtless but he was extremely talented and entertained millions of people. I suppose it was our loss but everybody else’s gain. I know he was very kind and part of it was that he would always say yes to everybody, which sometimes meant he let people down.”

Peter had recently recovered from throat cancer but died from pneumonia on July 21 after picking up a chest infection.

He also leaves sons Marcus, 44, and Jade, 34, daughter Victoria, 45, and six grandchildren.