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Paul Buckmaster (1946 – 2017), legendary arranger worked with David Bowie and Elton John

Image via Facebook / Paul Buckmaster

Paul Buckmaster (1946 – 2017), legendary arranger worked with David Bowie and Elton John

Paul Buckmaster, arranger and conductor who worked with rock musicians David Bowie, Elton John, and the Rolling Stones, has died at the age of 71, according to an announcement on Twitter from McDaniel Entertainment.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share our beloved friend and longtime client Paul Buckmaster has passed away. Paul’s iconic arrangements touched the world and he will be deeply missed. We will share more details as they become available.”

The London Born musician started playing the cello at a young age and graduated from the Royal Academy of Music. He began experimenting with rock and jazz music in the late 1960s, playing with progressive bands Suntreader and the Third Ear Band. 

Buckmaster first entered the rock mainstream in 1969 when he worked with David Bowie on “Space Oddity.” With the addition of his orchestral arrangement, “Space Oddity” was the first time David Bowie had a song chart in the UK. 

In 1970, he was asked to work on Elton John’s second album. The self-titled album contained the Elton John signature song, “Your Song,” featuring cello accompaniment from Buckmaster. He would go on to arrange and orchestrate multiple Elton John albums including “Tumbleweed Connection” and “Madman Across the Water,” including the classic song “Tiny Dancer.” 

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Buckmaster contributed string arrangements for the songs “Sway” and Moonlight Mile” on the Rolling Stone’s legendary 1971 album “Sticky Fingers.” 

HIs footprints are on many iconic songs. He did the orchestration for the classic Carly Simon anthem “Your So Vain.” Some other artists he worked with include Miles Davis, the Grateful Dead, Harry Nilsson, Mott the Hoople, and Belinda Carlisle. 

Buckmaster continued to be in demand as an arranger, working with modern acts such as piano power pop rocker Ben Folds, and emo rock bands New Found Glory and Something Corporate. In 2016, he worked with the band Heart on their album “Beautiful Broken.” 

In 2002, he won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for his work on Train’s song “Drops of Jupiter.” 

He also composed the music for the science fiction film “12 Monkeys.”

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