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  1. ITV Report

Tributes for music producer and historian Chris Phipps

Chris Phipps with Black Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne Credit: Chris Phipps
Music and film historian Chris Phipps Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Tributes are being been paid to the music producer and historian, Chris Phipps.

Originally from the Midlands, he was called to the North East to help create the legendary live music show 'The Tube' for Channel Four.

Chris worked on the show throughout its run, from 1982 to 1987. He played a huge part in giving unsigned bands - including Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the Fine Young Cannibals - their big break, as well as bringing some of the biggest names in the business to the then Tyne Tees studios at City Road in Newcastle.

Former AC/DC singer Brian Johnson pays tribute to Chris Phipps Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Former AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson recalled his friendship with Chris Phipps, built on a shared love of music:

I am so sad to hear of Chris's passing. I will always remember the times I enjoyed with Chris, one of the most knowledgable men of music that I have ever met. I would always love to sit and talk with him over a pint - his love of music was absolute. We will all miss you.

– Brian Johnson, former AC/DC lead singer

Highly respected for his extraordinary depth of knowledge and contacts throughout the music industry, Chris Phipps also worked on a range of programmes and documentaries. These included NORTHSTARS - a celebration of musicians with North East roots - and the Chris Rea documentary, ‘Hard Is The Road’, both of which won Royal Television Society awards.

He wrote extensively, encapsulating his knowledge in a series of books. His recent ‘unorthodox autobiography’ - Namedropper! - charted five decades of encounters with the stars, from Miles Davis to Madonna and David Bowie to Ozzy Osbourne.

Chris was known for his encyclopaedic knowledge of popular culture, collaborating with Lindisfarne musician Ray Laidlaw on projects including the Tyne Idols bus tours - celebrating North East musical heritage:

Musician Ray Laidlaw and Chris Phipps worked together on numerous projects Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

"He loved his subject and he was passionate about it. He never ceased to amaze me with the amount of knowledge he had, and what he could tell you."

– Ray Laidlaw, musician.
Chris Phipps played a key role in the Whitley Bay Film Festival Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

His informative talks and interviews on music and film inspired many to explore the back catalogue of movie soundtracks, and discover gems of the North East captured on film.

Over the last decade, he was a driving force behind the Whitley Bay Film Festival and was due to take part in this year's events:

"The response from our audiences has been immense. He has touched a lot of people....he had a very great warmth and he was very down to earth and a very modest man and I think that everyone who came to our festival events felt that."

– Ema Lea, Whitley Bay Film Festival organiser

Watch Helen Ford's report here: