Tribute to Claude Nobs
He booked Jethro Tull to appear in 1970 and again in 2003. He was still actively involved in directing the Festival, even last July in the 46th year of the annual event, when he announced us on stage for our third show there and joined us the next day as a featured guest at a public workshop performance where he played blues harmonica with me and talked with energy and enthusiasm, as always, to the audience.
Claude had been unwell on a few occasions in the last years and was well aware of the passing years and need to look after himself. We would meet for dinner once in a while when we were at home in Montreux or visit his chalet for a quiet chat.
So, to hear of the accident on Christmas Eve which lead to his emergency surgery and subsequent coma, was a huge shock, to say the least. He took a tumble while on his cross-country skis near his home and was rushed to hospital by helicopter ambulance later that night. He remained in a coma for the next two weeks but we all imagined that he would somehow miraculously awake and bounce off back up to Caux, in the hills high above Montreux, with the boyish energy which he retained for all the time I have known him. But it was not to be.
The things I will always remember most about Claude were not the public persona, not the party-throwing generous host to all the good and great of the Rock, Jazz and pop fraternity who drifted in and out of his life. No, It is the boundless, naive optimism of the man, the boy, the child which infected all around him. His innate love for music, musicians, gadgets, trains, motorcycles and - well - just stuff was the simple charm which exuded from him.
We will miss him sorely and treasure the legacy which he has left for Montreux, all genres of music and the millions of concert-goers who have enjoyed the sounds echoing off the water from that beautiful little corner of Lac Léman, Switzerland.
But, as Claude would undoubtedly say, if we could pass him the microphone right now, “The show must go on.”
And it most certainly will.