One of the founding members of the Average White Band has died after a battle with cancer.
Malcolm “Molly” Duncan achieved worldwide success with the Dundee group, whose hits included the international chart-topper Pick Up The Pieces.
The record, featuring his world famous saxophone solo, went to number one in the American single charts in 1975 and made the Average White Band one of the biggest acts of the decade.
Born on August 24 1945 in Montrose, he recorded with a string of legendary artists, including Tom Petty, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and Ben E. King.
He was still playing live until recently and had been due to perform with his The 360 Band at the city’s Gardyne Theatre as part of the Dundee Jazz Festival on October 30.
Molly studied at Duncan Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, along with Roger Ball, another original member of the Average White Band. The two saxophonists were known as the “Dundee Horns”.
He and fellow founders Steve Ferrone and Hamish Steward were reunited in July 2015 when they formed the 360 Band. The trio released an album titled Three Sixty in 2017 and went on to perform live together.
Members of the band described Molly as “one of the funniest and most charming people you could ever meet.”
Tributes poured in across social media as news of his death spread.
Sad news this morning. It’s with a heavy heart that we mourn the passing of our good friend, Malcolm ‘Molly’ Duncan. A legendary Scottish musician with Average White Band, Molly took us under his wing when he produced our first album. A fine man, a good soul, a rare talent. 😞♥️ pic.twitter.com/qutf96dSNo
— James Brown Is Annie (@JBisAnnie) October 8, 2019
A post on the Facebook page of the Average White Band said: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of our old friend and tenor player, Molly Duncan.
“He had a recent bout with cancer, and so one half of the ‘Dundee Horns’ is with us no more.
“His was the world famous sax solo on Pick Up The Pieces, but apart from that, he was one of the funniest and most charming people you could ever meet.
“He was a founding member of the band – also from Dundee Art College, as are Roger Ball and Alan Gorrie – and will be sorely missed.
“His son Dan, was with him at the end, and our condolences are with him and other family members.”
A sad passing – but a member of the first white band to top the Black American R&B charts. AWB ‘Pick Up The Pieces’ https://t.co/SEyL8x0Wv9
— Stuart Cosgrove (@Detroit67Book) October 8, 2019
Perth-raised journalist, broadcaster and author Stuart Cosgrove wrote on Twitter: “A sad passing – but a member of the first white band to top the Black American R&B charts.”
Organisers at Dundee Jazz Festival said: “We are very saddened to hear of Molly’s passing.
“We were very much looking forward to his performance at the end of October.”