Don Partridge was an English singer and songwriter, popularly known as the King of the Buskers”, and had a one hit success with his song Rosie in 1968, when it reached #4 on the UK Singles charts.
Born in Bournemouth in 1941, Don had an interesting early life, leaving home at 15, and having some 45 jobs, including being a burglar.
Being inspired by the American singer Jesse Fuller, he travelled around Europe, earning a living from playing on street corners (busking).
Initially just playing a guitar, Don found that he would gain a larger audience if he played as a one man band, and so he turned to playing the guitar, kazoo, harmonica, bass drum and cymbal at the same time.
He gained popularity in 1964 by playing in London, something which people hadn’t seen since the Second World War, and was often arrested since playing on street corners was illegal.
After appearing on the Eamonn Andrews Show on television, he was offered a recording contract, which led to his recording Rosie, which shot up in the charts.
Don played with a number of well known musicians, including Gene Pitney, Status Quo, and Gordon Giltrap.
The 1970’s saw Don move to Sweden, then busk around Canada, where he performed at the Montreal Olympic Games, before returning to the UK and settling in Sussex in 1990.
He died of a heart attack in 2010 in the Sussex town where he spent much of his later years.