Roger LaVern (Roger Jackson) R.I.P. (Nov. 11, 1937 – June 15, 2013)
Very sad to hear of Roger’s passing after a long and valiant battle against cancer.
Roger was, initially, the replacement keyboard player for Joe Meek’s Tornados after the departure of the band’s first keyboardist, Norman Hale in 1962. He ended up staying until 1965.
The majority of his work on Meek recordings were memorable, but nothing can diminish what is one of the most powerful keyboard contributions in pop instrumental history – Joe’s landmark 1962 hit TELSTAR. The relationship between both Roger and Joe or Roger and The Tornados wasn’t always smooth after that milestone (Roger used to refer to much of the band’s music as “Micky Mouse”), but as the years went on it was obvious that he was ultimately very proud to have contributed to such a uniquely emotional experience as Telstar was for so many people all over the world.
Roger was cantankerous, sly, a bit of a womanizer (the prizeholder of 8 successive marriages!), opinionated and an extremely talented gent. He was also a great and generous friend to us and our production. One of our very favorite things we’d look forward to, each trip we would take to London over the years, was to visit with Roger. The hours of stories we’d been audience to could fill a book — and Roger kept threatening to publish an autobiography, right up to the very end. We wonder if he’d ever actually managed to put pen to paper on that… It would’ve been a scorcher!
Luckily, he had recently seen a rough cut of A LIFE IN THE DEATH OF JOE MEEK and had given us his enthusiastic blessing, stating, “You done us all right.”
Hard to believe he’s gone. We miss you, Roger.