Matthew Seligman, the bassist for The Soft Boys who then went on to a ubiquitous and storied career recording with Thompson Twins, The Waterboys, Peter Murphy, and more, passed away this Friday at 63 years old.
Seligman notably shared the stage with David Bowie at 1985’s epic Live Aid, Charity concert, in addition to collaborating with the Thin White Duke by playing bass on the “Labyrinth” soundtrack and the song “Absolute Beginners.”
The cause of death was due to complications from COVID-19, after being on a ventilator in a medically induced coma for the past two weeks after begin admitted to St. George’s Hospital in London.
The announcement came via his longtime friend Thomas Dolby, who shared the news via Facebook from guitarist and mutual friend Kevin Armstrong, who revealed that Seligman had “suffered a catastrophic haemorrhagic stroke from which he won’t recover.”
“I don’t have words,” Dolby had written, following up later with “Matthew’s gone.”
Seligman’s career as a bassist began initially with his collaboration with Thomas Dolby in a band called Bruce Woolley & The Camera Club. Following an appearance in that group’s 1979 debut, he left and joined The Soft Boys, replacing original member Andy Metcalfe, and performing on the band’s classic second album Underwater Moonlight.
After the break-up of The Soft Boys, Seligman had rejoined Dolby in the short-lived act The Fallout Club, before a stint with the Thompson Twins from 1981-1982.
Seligman would then go on to join Dolby’s solo band, playing on the iconic hit single “She Blinded Me With Science” and Dolby’s classic albums The Golden Age of Wireless and The Flat Earth.
Seligman also performed with Peter Murphy on his second solo album Love Hysteria, for which the Bauhaus frontman remarked upon prior to the bass player’s passing:
“I am sad to hear the news that Matthew Seligman is in intensive care in a hospital in England. Matthew played bass on Love Hysteria, adding his inimitable style to “Indigo Eyes” and others. My prayers go out to him and his loved ones.”
During his career as a session musician, Seligman also performed on albums and singles by Stereo MC’s, The Waterboys, Sinéad O’Connor, Transvision Vamp, Morrissey, Nan Vernon, Tori Amos, Kimberley Rew and Alex Chilton.
Below, read the emotional tributes to Seligman from some of his bandmates, collaborators, and friends:
RIP the wonderful Matthew Seligman. My true friend and brother since 1980. pic.twitter.com/tB9yMf7RFw
— Kevin Armstrong (@kevarmst) April 17, 2020
“Pop music is about overstating the obvious” – Matthew Seligman, July 14 1955 – April 17 2020
— Robyn Hitchcock (@RobynHitchcock) April 18, 2020
Rest in power, Matthew Seligman. Soft Boy forever. Fuck this virus. pic.twitter.com/XYxXfWLNKD
— colin meloy (@colinmeloy) April 18, 2020
My friend Matthew Seligman has died of this shitty bug. He was a top bassist, a human rights solicitor & just a lovely human. He played with many great people. We were all very proud of him when he backed Bowie at Live Aid. He had a lovely smile, & real kindness. So sad. pic.twitter.com/tjnLNVKe8Y
— Neil McCormick (@neil_mccormick) April 18, 2020