A BLACKBURN singer who had a number one hit in seven countries has died at the age of 61.

Henderson Gibson co-wrote and sang backing vocals for Billy Ocean and the Nolan Sisters in the early 1970s before striking out with his own band called Shabby Tiger.

Though never fully recognised in the UK, the band’s 1974 single ‘Slow Down’ hit the number one spot in Germany and several other European countries.

Gibson, who was affectionately known as ‘Hendy’, was diagnosed with lung cancer last year and died at home on March 26.

Born in Glasgow, Mr Gibson was inspired to take up music and become a singer after watching his sister Heather win a talent contest.

When his family moved to Blackburn he soon began playing in rock ‘n’ roll bands.

ABOVE: Henderson Gibson performs 'Slow Down' with Shabby Tiger

Brother-in-law Tim Brennan, from Whalley, said: “He was a brilliant singer and a larger-than-life character.

“The minute he walked into a room you knew he had arrived. Everyone in Blackburn at the time knew him, he just didn’t get the breaks for some reason.

“But in Europe he had a fantastic following.

“I don’t really know what the reason was.”

Mr Gibson’s shows later became a regular fixture at social clubs across northern England, and he became good friends with comedian Bernard Manning.

In 1999 he moved to Benidorm in Spain and performed under the name Cheroot, before moving back to East Lancashire with his wife, Fiona, in September when he became ill.

Fiona, of Pine Street, Darwen, said: “He’s got a lot of friends in Benidorm and so many people would come over to see him perform.

“He loved singing and it was his life, but he was also the kindest person and would help anybody.

“We lived in each others’ pockets and would do everything together.”

He also leaves sons Marcus and Henderson, daughter Naomi, daughter-in-law Rebecca and grandchildren Georgie and Luca.

His funeral service is at Pleasington Crematorium tomorrow at 3pm.