Paul Ryder of Happy Mondays Dead at 58
The worlds of dance and rock music mourn a crossover musician who played no small role in the “Madchester” scene of the late ‘80s. Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder has passed away at age 58.
Ryder’s July 15th death was confirmed in a statement issued by his band on the same day. “The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning,” it reads. “A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed.”
Ryder formed Happy Mondays in Manchester in 1980 alongside his brother Shaun on vocals as well as drummer Gary Whelan, keyboardist Paul Davis, and guitarist Mark Day. After releasing the Forty Five EP in 1985 and the album White Out in 1987, they arrived at a fusion of rock and house music dubbed “baggy” that cemented them as a fixture of the burgeoning U.K. rave movement.
1988’s Bummed first encapsulated this fusion, with singles such as “Wrote For Luck” pairing guitar riffs with drum machines and synthesizers. Happy Mondays followed it up with Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, which was co-produced by Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osborne, in 1990.
Happy Mondays disbanded and reunited three separate times in the decades since. Mixmag reports that the band was slated to perform at Kubix Festival in Sunderland on the 15th, but Ryder passed away mere hours before they would have taken to the stage.
Key personalities of Manchester’s early rave scene and beyond have shared tributes to Ryder on social media. Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown tweeted, “Rest in peace Ryder. A great friend, a great musician, a great fella.”
“Very sad news,” tweeted DJ Graeme Park, one-time resident of iconic Manchester club The Haçienda. “Sorry for your loss. Sending love."
Happy Mondays has asked fans to respect the privacy of Paul Ryder’s friends and loved ones at this time.