Monday, 6 October 2014

Death of Lynsey de Paul

The well known singer-songwriter died suddenly on 2 October 2014 in Barnet Hospital. She had complained of severe headaches and it is thought that she may have had a brain haemorrhage. She lived at 6 Fairfax Road West Hampstead, for many years before moving to Mill Hill.

She was born as Lynsey Monckton Rubin in 1948. Her parents Herbert and Meta Rubin lived at 98 Shoot up Hill in Cricklewood. Herbert was a property developer. 96-98 Shoot Up Hill is now called the People’s Centre For Change. In 1983 it was a community home for young people.

After leaving the Hornsey Art School, Lynsey designed album covers and then began writing songs. In 1972 she performed her own song ‘Sugar Me’ which reached the UK top 10 and it was covered in the US by Nancy Sinatra.

Lynsey became the first woman to win an Ivor Novello award for songwriting with her 1973 hit ‘Won't Somebody Dance With Me’. She received a second Ivor Novello award the following year for ‘No Honestly’, which was also the theme tune to the ITV comedy of the same name, starring Pauline Collins and John Alderton. She also wrote the theme tune for Esther Rantzen’s BBC One series ‘Hearts Of Gold’. Lynsey represented the UK in the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest with the song she and Mike Moran wrote and performed, ‘Rock Bottom’.

In 2007 Lynsey gave an interview to the Daily Mail about her abusive father. She said:
I knew what it was like to be very frightened when I was a small child. I never knew what my father was going to do - slap me, yell at me, criticise me or just ignore me. Once he hit me so hard that I felt sick and dizzy for three days. In the end I had to go to the doctor, who told me I was suffering from concussion. I was 19 then and I knew I had to save up enough money to get out of that house as quickly as possible, which is exactly what I did.

She changed her name from Reuben to de Paul to dissociate herself from her family when she left home. But Lynsey didn't totally escape abusive behaviour, when she entered into relationships with men with histories of violence such as George Best and Sean Connery. Even the great love of her life, Hollywood actor James Coburn, threatened her with violence during the four years they lived together in the late Seventies.

In 1989 she had an affair with Sean Connery which lasted several months. Although he never hit her, Lynsey was upset after discovering the truth about his abusive first marriage to actress Diane Cilento, and because he had spoken out against domestic violence.

Lynsey said she had five offers of marriage, including one from James Coburn, and she continued to wear the engagement ring that Chas Chandler, bassist with The Animals and manager of Jimi Hendrix, gave her. She said she also had 'flings' with Ringo Starr and Dudley Moore.

It is just a coincidence that before they became famous, both Dudley Moore and Sean Connery lived in Kilburn for short periods.

Lynsey's experience with abuse led to her presenting a documentary in 1992 about women's self-defence, called ‘Eve Fights Back’, which won a Royal Television Society award. In 2007 she released her own instructional self-defence video, ‘Taking Control’, which teaches women how to protect themselves mentally and physically against an assailant.

Following the news about her sudden death at the age of 66, numerous tributes have been paid to her.

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