March 24, 2004 by

Les Gray

39 comments

Categories: Musicians

lgray.jpgThomas Lesley Gray, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock group Mud, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack. He was 57.

Gray played the trumpet in his school band and joined a traditional jazz band when he was 12 years old. He later wrote commercials for an advertising agency and played in a skiffle group called The Mourners with his younger brother, Pete.

In 1966, Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis formed Mud. The band won a talent contest and appeared on “The Basil Brush Show,” then toured Great Britain as the opening act for Jack Jones. Mud produced more than a dozen hit singles, including the chart-toppers “Lonely This Christmas,” “Tiger Feet” and “Oh Boy.” “Tiger Feet” was the biggest-selling single of 1974.

The band split up three years later, and Gray launched a solo career. He released five singles between 1977 and 1982, and toured as Les Gray’s Mud. In 1981, he also recorded “Rock on Elvis” under the name Tulsa McLean.

After smoking 50 cigarettes a day, Gray spent his final years battling throat cancer. Although doctors wanted to remove his voicebox, he opted for chemotherapy instead.

Watch Classic Mud Video Clips

39 Responses to Les Gray

  1. richie wynne

    i met les during one of his gigs in birkenhead mersyside…he was very friendly and a genuinly nice guy….i was a young man when mud had there hits in the 70s, when i hear their stuff now great memories come flooding back….god bless you les

  2. michael barry clementrs

    Rest In Peace Les – You were a legend who’s Music, Charisma and Voice will never be forgotten – I have been playing my Mud Cd’s constantly and still seem to hear something new in your music 30 years on – I just hope the BBC does a tribute to you and the boys soon – It will be Lonely this Christmas

  3. Chris Thomas

    During the 70s Mud were a superb band led by a great front man in les Gray.I have just bought the latest Double album (Time and Again).You may no longer be with us Les but your music lives on.
    Another great who died to young

  4. Clive Robert Handel

    Dear Les,
    I loved your music from the start, my favourites being Lonely This Christmas, Tiger Feet, Oh Boy and, of course The Cat Crept In. My three year old son, Taylor loves your music too. Mud got me through school and I’ll always remember you and the rest of the band.
    Rest In Peace, Les. God bless you.
    Clive Handel

  5. jeanette

    Les Gray is sadly missed. Mus is definately one the of the best glam rock Bands ever, and Les had a brilliant voice. I shall have “Rocket” played at my funeral !!

  6. David

    MUD were a great group and Les was the perfect singer for the band.
    My favorites were The Cat Crept In, Rocket, The Secrets That You Keep .. and of course Tiger Feet and Dynamite were also great tunes.
    When MUD teamed up with Mickie Most (Rak Records)
    Nicky Chinn & Mike Chapman it was a magic formula for music success .. so many wonderful memories.
    The music will live on forever.
    David.

  7. Karl

    Dear Les,
    in former 70ties MUD counted as to as one of
    the best glam bands forever.
    In 1973 me and my family came from Poland
    to Germany and

  8. Roden

    Mud Mud Glourous Mud theys nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. I will never forget the opening to there show it was fantastic we was at the halifax civic and what a night it was. Mud at its best the fans whent mad while they was singing tiger feet and les ray and rob doing there littel walk sadly we will never see this again Iv seen them loads of times but never like the night in halifax “brillient”
    Good by Les you will always be my Elvis and the king of pop.
    Roden

  9. Jimmy Myers

    Les you were the best I was lucky enough to meet you three times once in Southport at the hight of your fame and twice when you came to Wigan in the early 80’s. You were a gentleman each time and you had time for everyone.
    I still have my signed picture of all the band which say’s “have a rocking 1975” at the top which I was sent as a member of the fan club.
    RIP Les i’m sure your making heaven rock.

  10. dave B

    Something there to inspire everyone. It’ll be lonely this christmas lip synched to a ventriloquist doll will never be matched. Fake snow, Les sitting on a stool exchanging looks with the doll as the band did their ‘shadows walk’ either side…. i didn’t need to understand, I was pre-school and accepted this as a way which adults behaved. Will have to learn more about the man. A hero.

  11. alan bent

    i have just seen the hollies play an open air gig,which was brill,guess who was on guitar…rob styles,and as a tribute to les he played tiger feet,in amongst the hollies set.very moving.

  12. shazza

    Les had the best live singing voice you’re ever likely to hear. Also a truly genuine friend bloke. A true pleasure to have met you. R.I.P. Les. x

  13. peter duff

    I work as a support worker for Peter. I was asked to give my condolences to Les Gray as Peter was a very big fan of the band. Only last week Peter was singing Tiger Feet at a conference in Liverpool.He will be sadly missed by all.

  14. patrick mc keane

    les was one of the best it made schooldays more bearable to come home and listen to mud god bless les and sadly now dave too pat

  15. Karl

    My condolences
    Hello,
    I am very sorry and sad to hear over half a year that Dave Mount left us.
    I would like express my very highest condolences to his whole family.
    I was shocked about reading this now.
    I was also shocked as Les left this world.
    I was a great fan of MUD since 1972 beneath S.Quattro, Sweet and Slade
    ( I had the great luck to have a dinner with Dave’s colleague , Mr. Don Powell
    in Hamburg in Down Town Blues Club).
    My greatest hits of MUD were Tiger Feet, the cat crept in , Rocket.
    I had a big respect to them, because I am also a guitar player in Hamburg,
    a teacher of guitar, since I ever know…MUD had a great time , but also a
    hard way since 1966.
    I loved them , I loved their music.
    Rob Davis was since 1973 an idol guitarist for me, and Rick played ever
    in MUD and at Hollies a brilliant bass.
    May Dave find his freedom in heaven – I hope his family is a christian one…..
    Dave had reasons to die this way, he decided not a natural way, but his own way….
    this is sad for all family-members, friends and people loved him.
    whenever Daves family will be in Hamburg – you are very welcome in my house
    all the best
    Karl
    my websites
    http://www.dreamt-oddyssey.de.tl

  16. Dawm

    Les was one of my first pop crushes, I never heard he had passed away until today years later. I was so sad to hear. I met him once in Leeds when I was 14 years old and he was friendly and funny. I saw him last in the 90’s in Bradford, he was still friendly and funny and charismatic. He died on my birthday, and was part of my growing up, his band filled my teenage life with happiness.
    My condolences to his family whilst he sleeps in peace.
    God Bless all
    Dawn

  17. Gerda

    Used to work for Mud in 73 and 74.
    I’ve never met a better bunch of guys.
    Les and Dave ,you will always be in my memories.
    Noone was as much fun….Same for Ray and Dave.
    For a few years you guys were the BEST!
    Thanks for filling my life with beautiful
    experiences
    Gerda

  18. Rita Charlesworth

    I didn’t even know that he’d died till I looked his group Mud on a Google search when I was playing the Jackie CD one night on the computer, what date and year did he die? has anyone any idea please?

  19. CAROL

    I would just like to say what a great guy Les was,I met him many times over the 70’s and 80’s,he will be sadly missed by many people,especially me,he was my life and my love and allways will be.Rest In Peace Darling Miss you so much

    • Paul Hamerton

      Les`s love was his WIFE Carokl not you who spread lies about you having his son you are pure evil now crawl back under that stone

      • A Plati

        i would love to know more about Les & his wife Carol – (who is sperading lies about this- pretty sick )id like to know how they met, their life together & how she is coping – is she still in Portugal ? did Les have any family ?children or siblings xxx

  20. Peter

    I grew up in Belfast in the 70’s. Life was hard and brutal for everyone but one thing united us all and made a terrible time into a beautiful memory, that was the music. Especially Mud and the whole glam family. Les you were fantastic then and just for a while once a week peace reigned where I lived when “Top Of The Pops” aired and Mud,Sweet,Slade,Wizzard etc were performing. Thank you Les.

  21. janice hoyle

    My previous memoir to Les has been deleted – so to all of you Les Gray/MUD fans – the memories of Les and MUD are still close to my heart as if it was yesterday, his smile, the fun he had when he was performing. Some people can’t understand why he didn’t have his voicebox removed but I do understand just as his wife, Carol, does also. Singing and performing was his whole life – that was what kept him alive.
    I tried to get in touch with Les when I came to the USA to actually ask he and his wife to visit with my and my then husband (if they so desired) – the message I don’t believe was never delivered by his Dad and I wish I hadn’t given up and that I’d tried harder to contact him (them)just to say hi. I was so young, naieve, and it was the ‘best’ time of my life. When my 72 year old mother saw Les performing on youtube – she too balled her eyes out because that was a happy time in her life also and she remembered meeting Les and the bank and actually meeting them at a party (after we followed the car around the roundabout about 20 times – they couldn’t shake us) – fun times….memories that last a life time. Janice

  22. dennis flook

    my wife and i saw mud some years ago at the hippodrome in Bristol along with sweet, even though Les gray was obviously ill he still gave a great performance as did the late Brian Connolly of sweet. so thanks Les wherever you are.

  23. chris

    Anyone who was brought up through the seventies remembers Mud !!
    That was our Era. Thats when it was difficult to get in the charts and you really had to have a real X factor unlike the crap we have today.
    Les Gray and Mud were in a class of thier own who actually enjoyed what they did and Les continued to the very end.
    RIP Les & keep rockin up there !!

  24. luci

    Well, i thought he`d passed away but wanted to check. Going to a glam rock weekend in february and we`ve been watching the tiger feet TOTP clip on You tube to practice the dance! Saw Mud with les in 1991 at Pontins in Hemsby and they were fab…must admit though he didn`t look too good then so i`m glad he had quite a few more years to keep rocking! Your music lives on.

  25. denise treharne

    i was sad to hear of the death of muds frount man les gray we seen them singing in minehead butlins a few years ago & they were fab,myself & my husband loved mud & there music

  26. dodge

    god bless les n dave thanks for my schooldays n top of the pops in the 70s i was only little but loved glam deff mud where top of the list still play em tday n still got my teddyboy suit in the warddrobe n crepes along with all the others r.i.p guys miss you xmas gigs not the same with mud 2 and slade 2 with out the proper lead singers deff mud bless u all

  27. MUD FAN M/CR

    REST IN PEACE LES I HAD THE HONOUR TO SERVE ALL THE BAND IN MANCHESTER IN THE EARLY 70’s I LAST SAW YOU AT APOLLO IN MANCHESTER IN THE 90’s AND ENJOYED HAVING A PINT TOGETHER MUSIC HAS LOST A LEGEND:- WHAT A BAND IS PLAYING TOGETHER IN HEAVEN
    GOD BLESS YOU LES THANKS FOR THE MUSIC

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