Happy Mondays pay tribute to 'pioneer and legend' Paul Ryder after sudden death aged 58

The Manchester-born bassist founded the band in 1980 with his brother Shaun

Paul Ryder, bass player and founding member of The Happy Mondays, has died aged 58. Photo: PA
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Paul Ryder, bass player and founding member of English band The Happy Mondays, has died at the age of 58.

Manchester-born Ryder founded the group in 1980 with his frontman brother Shaun and was credited with shaping the band’s signature funk sound.

“The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning,” the group wrote on their official Facebook page on Friday.

“A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time. Long live his funk.”

No cause of death has been made public. The band were scheduled to perform at Kubix Festival in Sunderland on Friday but cancelled following Ryder’s death.

In a statement on Facebook, festival organisers said: “Following the tragic news of Paul Ryder passing away this morning, The Happy Mondays will no longer be playing tonight’s show and our thoughts remain with the band and Paul’s family at this difficult time.”

Ryder was born in Salford in 1964 and was a self-taught guitarist. The band’s original line-up also included drummer Gary Whelan and guitarist Mark Day, who were later joined by dancer Bez.

The band found fame in the late 1980s, while experimenting with their trademark brand of psychedelic pop, and peaked in the 1990s with their second album Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, which featured the chart-topping singles Step On and Kinky Afro. The band performed in Dubai in 2013.

Left to right, Mark Day, Paul Ryder and Shaun Ryder of The Happy Mondays with the Inspiration Award during the 61st Annual Ivor Novello Music Awards. Photo: PA

Ryder remained an active member as the Happy Mondays broke up and reformed multiple times over the past 40 years. He also acted in several films, including The Ghosts of Oxford Street and Losing It, and made a cameo as a gangster in the film 24 Hour Party People.

British musicians have been paying tribute to Ryder, with Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown tweeting: “Rest in peace Ryder. A great friend, a great musician, a great fella.”

Updated: July 16, 2022, 6:52 AM