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Mick Karn 1958-2011

Mick Karn

Stephen Humphries writes: Mick Karn, the great bassist for Japan whose fretless instrument graced Kate’s The Sensual World (Heads We’re Dancing), as well as records by Gary Numan and Joan Armatrading, died today. His website stated: It’s with profound sadness that we have to inform you that Mick finally lost his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully at 4.30pm today, 4th January 2011 at home in Chelsea, London. He was surrounded by his family and friends and will be deeply missed by all.

Our sincere condolences to his loved ones.

UPDATE: Del Palmer has left his thoughts in the comment section of this article below.

John Taylor from Duran Duran leaves his tribute here. Mick had worked on recording sessions for Aerial in 2002, and even gave fans the intriguing first new title we learned of, namely “How To Be Invisible”, but ultimately his work on the track didn’t make it to the final album mix. I think the first time Karn played bass for Kate was at the Prince’s Trust performance in 1982 (here’s a video, with Karn’s distinctive bass sound very prominent in the mix).



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  1. Sky

    Maybe Mick and Gerry Rafferty will be climbing the stairway together. Vibes in the sky invite you to dine. xxx

  2. Del Palmer

    More bad news!!..
    And this is particularly painful…
    Mick was a wonderfully creative player and an artist of rare talent.. He was also a great energy to have around in any studio situation.. He’ll be missed by everyone who knew him…

    • Fizz Carter

      I am very sad to know that Mick has passed on. He has been my ultimate bass player since seeing Japan during their last tour back in the 80’s. He opened up my world to an instrument that I had not noticed before but which is the one I choose to listen to now. Mick had an incredible and amazing ability to produce unique sounds, voices and feelings to this most underated instrument – he could make it sing and swirl with a soul of it’s own. May God bless you Mick and thank you for your amazing music & wonderful stage presence. Fizz x

  3. Very sad to hear this. Teena Marie, Gerry Rafferty and now Mick. I hope they are all jamming away in the other dimension.

  4. jane tomsett

    Remembering you with such fondness at the Brighton Dome 22nd oct 1982.
    May your journey be filled with love and peace.


  5. Bart Puttemans, Belgium

    To me you were by far the best bass player in the world, your style was and is unique,
    symply wonderful and absolutely not imitable by any other bass player..
    Your album “Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters (1987)” is always in the neighbourhood of my cd-player.

    What a loss..

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