The music industry is mourning the loss of pioneering music writer Dave Laing, who has died, aged 71.
Laing served as deputy editor of Music Week during the halcyon days of the ‘80s, and was launch editor of sister publication MBI. An expert in music publishing, he is fondly remembered as a colleague.
“Dave had been MW’s established publishing correspondent for a few years when I arrived in autumn 1990,” said former Music Week editor Martin Talbot, now chief executive of the Official Charts Company. He was just moving internally to work on Music Business International with David Dalton when I arrived, so I was given the music publishing beat.
“I remember sitting down with him soon after arriving to pick his brains about the sector and he couldn’t have been more helpful, opening up his contacts book to me, and suggesting a long list of people I should meet up with. When you’re a young reporter, starting in an alien industry, it’s exactly what you want – that kind of generosity of spirit from an established writer. I’ve been lucky to have a few over the years and Dave was a really important one for me. Just a really helpful, supportive, generous, lovely colleague and so knowledgeable too. He will be much missed.”
Before Music Week, Laing had been one of the new breed of music journalists on publications such as Cream and Let It Rock. With his friend Phil Hardy, he also created the essential reference book the Faber Companion To 20th Century Popular Music. He also served at the IFPI and produced the Music & Copyright newsletter.
“Dave was truly a renaissance man when it came to both music and the business,” said PR consultant Jonathan Morrish. “Equally at home talking about any and every genre over the years, as well as being incredibly knowledgeable about all aspects of the industry - records, publishing, live, rights - and in incredible detail. You only have to look at the extent and range of his published output.
“But he was also very unassuming and modest. I first met him as a nervous journalist at Let It Rock back in 1974 but he couldn’t have been more welcoming and open. We remained friends ever since and he is a sad loss.”
Music Week extends its deepest condolences to all of Laing’s family, friends and colleagues.