TRIBUTES have been pouring in on social media for popular ’70s and ’80s South African hit-maker Dennis East, who died on Monday morning following a stroke last Friday, September 9.
Originally from Pietermaritzburg, East, whose many hits included A Million Drums, A Rose Has to Die, Joey the Lipstick Collector and Stone Walls, was 73.
Also a member of the ’70s bands Stingray, which climbed charts with Better the Devil You Know, and The Rising Sons, East was also known as a producer and songwriter. He is survived by his son Greg and Greg’s mother, Yvette.
East also produced albums for other artists and participated in television programmes such as Pump Up The Volume, Coca-Cola Pop Stars and Popstars 2010.
South African music producer David Gresham said of East: “Dear special friend and mighty talent. We worked a lifetime together, scoring second at the Chile Song Festival, taking our super outfit Stingray international; you managing our phenomenal publishing division for years, and finding such great hits. Wow we wowed them!
“You were the greatest singer I have ever known and we worked mightily. The hits came and went. “Dammit I Love You”. Rest in peace, Den, and sincere condolences to dear Yvette and Greg.”
Recording artist Patricia Lewis wrote on Facebook: “No words. We’re just continuously thinking about beautiful Yvette and Greg – Dennis adored the two of you so much. Each and every conversation during the recording of 11 full albums over 13 years, always ended with a wonderful anecdote about them”.
Actress Judy Ditchfield, wife of singer-actor Paul Ditchfield, wrote on Facebook: “So very shocked to hear of the passing of darling Dennis East. One of the genuine, special, ‘nice guys’. Funny and always generous. A very sad day. So much love to Yvette and Greg on this very sad day.
Fellow hit-maker Peter Vee wrote: “Rest in peace my dear friend. Gonna miss you so much.”
Singer Miriam Stockley, formerly of signing duo The Stockley Sisters, which had a hit with a cover of Venus, wrote: “Devastating news…he was such an integral part of my young adult life.”