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Dave Clark Five's Denis Payton Dies

By December 18, 2006

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Denny Payton, who played sax, guitar and harmonica for the Dave Clark Five, has died of cancer at the age of 63.

Payton also sang backup vocals and wrote some of the lyrics for the band that swept into the US along with the Beatles in the "British Invasion" of 1964. The DC5 are among the nominees for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

"Denis was extremely brave and not afraid of death," says band founder Dave Clark. "He had an amazing philosophy on life and will be greatly missed by me and all who knew him."

Payton died Sunday (12/17/06) at his home in England. Read more from BBC.


December 27, 2006 at 6:26 pm
(1) Thomas R. Brady says:

Denis was a top flight musician for a top shelf group. It would be poetic justice for the DC-5 to become inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for 2007. Long overdue. He will be sorely missed. What I would give to have seen the Dave Clark Five on the Ed Sullivan show. An example of his musical prowess occurs on the tracks Anyway You Want It and the legendary Glad All Over. Denis and the lads just rocked the place. My condolences to his family and to the rest of the band, Dave, Mike get well pal, Lenny and Rick. Sincerly, Thomas R. Brady Retired Detective NYPD

December 27, 2006 at 6:44 pm
(2) Dave says:

Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Thomas. I don’t know if the Sullivan show is among them, but here are quite a few DC5 video clips:

January 11, 2007 at 2:59 pm
(3) Bernardo Medina says:

The passing of Denis Payton was quite a shock to me. This was one hell of a band! Mr. Payton contributed very much to the success of that great group and he co-wrote or composed many of their recorded songs. His harmonica playing, and background vocals were also important. Mr. Payton usually had an infectious smile, and great stage presence, and will be missed greatly. Rest in Peace Denis. Mike Smith you are in our prayers as well, and we wish you continued progress. Our condolences to his family in the U.K.

January 25, 2007 at 6:57 am
(4) Lou Peluso says:

Denis you are the reason I picked up the tenor sax and joined 2 rock bands when I was a teen, and continued to play sax for many, many years. I enjoyed the 3 concerts I attended where the DC5 were the headliners. This group was vastly under-rated. They always put on a great show. R.I.P. Denis, and Mike, I wish you good days ahead. Thanks for the music, the good memories, and for putting me on the road to playing music rather than hanging on corners. Lou Peluso, retired high school teacher.

January 26, 2007 at 11:58 am
(5) David Haverstock says:

Denis’ horn sound was one of several things that set the DC5 above and beyond every other Brit. invasion band. “Time” from their first album is in the top ten play list on my computer today, but then, of course, most of the DC5 songs are on repeat play. The name Payton appears on some of the greatest songs of that era or any other and I’ve never understood why the song writing of the group has been so undervalued and overlooked. I’m still trying to figure out how four great song writers (sorry Rick) happened to come together as they did. We will miss Denis greatly and send our sympathy to his loved ones. The music, of course, will play on.

July 5, 2007 at 2:38 am
(6) mary says:

I was so gutted when i read about Denis today 4/7/07.I send prayers to his family. God bless you Dennis. How i loved to hear you play.

July 14, 2007 at 8:26 pm
(7) PAT ABBOTT says:



July 18, 2007 at 5:49 am
(8) brian phillips[payton] says:

sorry to here ov denis passing i check now and then on dc5 music good to listen to i am alf payton son australia if any payton reads this please contact brian mrmphllps@yahoo.com.au

July 19, 2007 at 2:07 pm
(9) Jerry Schooler says:

It took some guts and creativity to feature a saxophone in the British invasion genre. After all, guitars were king and still are! Denis was obviously competent, great looking, and contributed in no small way to the DC Five succesful sound. Because they were a big part of my younger days musical life I feel I have lost a friend who thru his music is still touching my and many others lives.Every time I hear a DC Five tune I will think of Denis and because of his music he has immortality with millions!

July 22, 2007 at 2:50 pm
(10) Luis Villalon says:

Why is it so hard to get DC5 recordings? Itunes doesn’t have any, and the ones available at Amazon are priced from $40 to $150 or more, and I don’t know if they are original recordings. Golden Oldies stations don’t even acknowledge their great musical contribution. Is there some sort of litigation or other legal problem going on?. As a teenager in the 60s trying to learn how to play drums, I used DC5 songs to practice with. Their sound was solid. Why are they bypassed in all of British Invasion compilations or TV show? Anyone knows?

September 27, 2007 at 9:09 pm
(11) Sweet Sue Ohio says:

I’m keeping Denis, Dave, Mike, Rick, and Lenny (families too) in thoughts and prayers. I still love you guys.

October 21, 2007 at 1:12 am
(12) Bob Smerko says:

Dave and the gang– you have heard a lot of heart felt feelings about your music and the loss of Denis & Mikes situation..i just learned about Denis as of 10/19/07 as i (Up dated) and now have youtube..
I followed you fellows since your appearance on american TV back in 1964.. we had a high school band called The Germs till 1968 here in Edison New jersey USA. Then i had to go into the Marines for a terrible war .. Back then in our band,We took our white shirts and turned them backwards and sewed on gold buttons up the neck because your look was sooo impressive..(i know, it was silly) but I even looked like you Dave but played my 1964 fender jazz Bass instead of drums–at 58 yrs. old now, your music still touches every fiber in my life & heart.. I know you & the guys heard this often but what can we say- your appearance was perfect in time! You helped to bring sanity to a difficult time period in our lives here in the US.– Dave, in return,the best gift i can offer back to you for all the joy you brought through your hard work to the world and me personally is information, but not from a human source.. please think about a REAL hope but not of man’s doing– please notice what was recorded in the best studio ever to exist found in your home bible at john 5:28 29–this shows that Denis and other loved ones that we have lost in death (will )live again! you have the true God’s promise on it..Please take the time out and see what you and I and the rest of us must do to honestly see our dear friends once again and “never” experience in our lives the former pain of loseing them again..The remedy Dave is found at John 17:3–thanks for all your hard work in the studio– a loyal fan and bass player still playing “your” music in my heart, and live also for the fans of your Group!!! thanks whole heartedly for your time— Bob Smerko, Edison, New Jersey– Marblman1@optonline.net

February 29, 2008 at 9:28 am
(13) linda says:

I am so sad to hear of the passing of Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five.

September 29, 2009 at 4:59 pm
(14) Brenda Tseunis says:

Knowing Den fairly well, I can honestly say that Dennis (alias Denis) Payton was the best. Although he was somewhat shy most of the time, once you got him talking he could be quite the little chatterbox; in the most adorable way. And never; even during their days of fame, did he ever allow it to go to his head, in any way. There will never be a better word to describe Den other than the word ‘adorable’. He was always kind and considerate. Even during a most valuable time towards the end of his life, he considered the well fair of others, even before his own. He is without a doubt, gone, but will never be forgotten. Thanks again for the lovely tribute to one of the best musicians and gentlemen who ever existed.

May 18, 2014 at 6:11 am
(15) terry and jan says:

Thinking of you Den and all the good times and great laughs we had together. God bless xxxxx

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