A DRUMMER who was part of the heavy metal scene in the 70s and 80s has died after a fall in a London street.
Hartlepool man Graeme Crallan, a drummer for town band White Spirit, was 50.
The musician, nicknamed Crash, collapsed on Sunday and suffered head injuries.
He was later pronounced dead at the Royal Free Hospital, in Camden. An inquest has now opened into his death, which police are not treating as suspicious.
White Spirit was formed by Graeme in 1975 with guitarist Janick Gers, who went on to greater fame with Gillan, fronted by Ian Gillan, and the world-famous Iron Maiden.
The drummer was well known in his home town and toured nationally with White Spirit who were signed to the MCA record label and released one self-titled album in 1980.
Singer Bruce Ruff, keyboard player Malcolm Pearson, and bassist Phil Brady completed the group who had singles including Backs to the Grind and Midnight Chaser.
After the group split up in 1981 Graeme went on to be part of London-based punk and metal band Tank until 1985.
Since then he has played in various other bands.
Graeme went to the Technical High School and High Tunstall School before his music career took him to the capital.
Peter French, 50, a sub-editor at the Hartlepool Mail, who first met Graeme when he was 11, said: "He will be sorely missed because he was quite a character. I haven't spoken to him for a while but he's very popular and it's a great shock."
An inquest has opened into the death at St Pancras coroners' office and is expected to resume in a few months time. A spokeswoman for the coroner said: "Mr Crallan had head injuries and it is believed he had fallen in the street. "
Graeme's funeral will take place in London at Golders Green Crematorium tomorrow at 10.30am.
There's a request for family flowers only. Donations in lieu can be made to the NSPCC.
A celebration of Graeme's life will be held in Hartlepool at a date to be announced.