Tributes paid to chart-topping member of The Wurzels

Tributes have been paid to musician and former member of the Wurzels, who has passed away.

Tony Baylis was the third member of the band when they topped the charts back in the 1970s, touring the world as their bass and tuba player.

The two longest-serving members of The Wurzels, Tommy Banner and Pete Budd, said they were ‘deeply saddened’ to learn of his passing.

Baylis joined The Wurzels in 1969, providing the distinctive oompah sound to Adge Cutler’s Somerset and Bristol anthems.

He remained in the band when they took the decision to carry on with Pete Budd as lead singer after Adge was killed in a car crash in 1974.

Two years later, his distinctive tall frame and big hair was seen on Top of the Pops and the round of children’s TV, radio roadshows and music shows as The Wurzels broke out of the West Country and stormed to the top of the charts with the classic Combine Harvester.

The band followed it up with a series of top ten hits, and Baylis, Banner and Budd appeared on straw bales in TV studios around Britain and Europe.

In 1983, with The Wurzels retreating back to their Somerset roots, he left the band and emigrated to New Zealand.

(Image: Bristol Live)

Pete Budd said he would be sadly missed: “Tommy and myself are deeply saddened at the news of the passing of our dear friend and fellow Wurzel, Tony Baylis.

“Tony shared our success in 1976, when our record Combine Harvester went to number one in the British charts, and together we travelled the world and enjoyed some wonderful times.

“Rest in peace, old friend, you will be sadly missed by all of us in Wurzel Land.”

The band are still going strong, gigging to tens of thousands of people every year, mainly in the West Country, the Midlands and London, but have survived the coronavirus lockdown in inimitable style.

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