Dele Fadele – music journalist legend RIPphoto by Martyn Goodacre
We were saddened to hear of the death of music journalist Dele Fadele.

It emerged that Dele had died in 2018 and the sad news has only just got to everyone here. Originally from Nigeria, Dele was living in London in the late eighties where he cut a fantastically eccentric figure for more than a decade on the then circuit of dive bars, venues, record shops, Camden streets and music hot spots.

Every time I went to London he always seemed to be everywhere with his famous plastic bag full of review copies of records to sell to keep a roof over his head. That plastic bag went everywhere with him and so did his gorgeous smile. A smile that was full of life and was infectious and entwined with his distinctive drawl and electric enthusiasm and passion. He even had his own band Welfare Heroin who released two House/Dance/Synth style singles ‘Cry Blood’, and ‘Starve The Eagle’ via Non Fiction Records in 1990 and 1991 respectively.

His deep love of music was hypnotic.. we would spend hours talking about noise rock, hip hop and afrobeat – he was incredibly clued up on a myriad of musical styles and was a completely switched on and inspiring presence.

God bless you sir….

Previous articleBright Eyes: Down In The Weeds Where The World Once Was- album review
Next articleGirls in Synthesis: Now Here’s An Echo From Your Future – Album Review
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. I’m saddened that the poor fellow has died at such an age but I’m also a little angered that he should have died alone and it take two years for anyone to notice. Does this have to happen in order to qualify as a ‘legend’ these days?

  2. It didn’t take two years for people to notice Brim, although it’s no surprise it happened that way, sadly. People were forever asking where he was, but nobody ever seemed to know where he was, and then somebody would bump into him and news would go round that he’d been spotted. He was a very private bloke. I used to asked on my Fb, as did others, and there was always a mysterious silence. Even back in the 80’s, when I was his Editor briefly on a magazine, I couldn’t find him! He’d just turn up out of the blue. A warm-hearted, ridiculously talented and engaging enigma. Everybody loved him. R.I.P. Dele.

    • I interviewed him for my Swans doc and he was very sweet and generous with his time. One of my favorite people to talk to. Very sad to hear of his passing

  3. Somewhere in a scrapbook I’ve a photo cut out of the NME of Dele, Norman from Teenage Fanclub and Clint Mansell, I must dig that out later. And I still listen to Welfare Heroines take on ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely?’ from the Ruby Trax compilation. He turned a pretty cheesy crap record and made it into something that still sounds fantastic. Rest easy Dele

  4. He used to visit us all the time at the lexington. Then he just stopped coming. I knew he had slept rough on and off. I suspected something had happened. This is terribly sad and I will miss him.

  5. Had many a pint with Dele in Camden Town in the 90’s. It always a joy and intense discussion was had. Biggest laugh was when one of my molars broke off one night in the Spread Eagle. I can still hear him laughing. Conversations were about everything, life the universe everything.

  6. I worked at the Union Jack pub in Southwark until 2015 and Dele used to come in regularly. I could spot him walking back from the direction of the NME offices where he would come in and tell me of his profound heartbreak of what it had become.
    He was living with his brother (he said) at the time but it was clear had fallen on hard times. In the years I knew him his health especially seemed to be waning but his passion and vitalness for the enduring love of his life, music, never wavered. He adored New Order and could talk at length about the times he had experienced them firsthand deliver him upwards into euphoria. I used to say to him a lot, “Dele, write about your life,” as true or false his stories filled the room. He would get coy and smile that strangely wonderful demure Dele smile and I would say no more on the matter. He was a lovely man, a really lovely man who brightened up my day whenever he came in and I only wish I could have seen him just once after I had decided to leave so I could pass on my details. It’s incredibly sad to note that his passing is only now becoming known.

  7. I actually knew Dele pre-NME, when he was an engineering student (!) at Syracuse University, but we were both on crusades to become music writers – and remarkably both succeeded. Thank you for the nice words about him above, it’s both sad and sadly unsurprisingly that it took two years for any of us to find out he’d passed -> Pouring out a crate of ale for one of the most lovably curmudgeon-ly people I’ve ever met, music writer Dele Fadele. Born in Nigeria and partially schooled in London, I met him when we both wrote about music for the Syracuse University paper — his hunched, often-scowling figure was a common sight on the city’s music scene. Often as not he’d walk into the record store I worked in, pick up a copy of the British alt-music bible New Musical Express, buy it and leave without saying a word; I’d wait until the door closed and then say, “Hi, Dele.”
    He DJ’ed on the college radio station and bar (most weeks he’d let me take over for an hour) and briefly had an anarchic Neubauten-esque band called the Labor Party that used hammers and sheets of metal for percussion, which was kind of novel at the time — they couldn’t sing or play, but that wasn’t the point.
    With a deep voice and an unplaceable accent, his cloudy demeanor and withering disdain camouflaged a warm and witty personality — when he laughed or danced he would wrap his arms around himself and rock back and forth, like he couldn’t contain himself. He was technically an engineering student but like a few of us, his true field of study was the music business, and sure enough, a few years later there he was in London, writing often-inscrutable reviews for the NME (although Courtney Love once said he gave her the worst review she’d ever received, which, knowing him, was probably was the high point of his career). The last time I saw him was at a Fugazi show in London in the ‘90s, where we spent the evening drinking beer and laughing on the sloped floor of the Brixton Academy.
    I hadn’t heard from him in years, but that wasn’t out of character: He was so private that even the paper that employed him for many years didn’t learn of his death until now, two years later.

  8. Sorry one more thing re comment above – my name is JEM not Hem (I couldn’t see what I was typing because of that sharing module on the left!). And one more Dele memory: He went to the legendary Smiths concert at Danceteria on New Year’s Eve 83->84 – you know, the one where Madonna supposedly “opened” for them – and was VERY proud of himself when he told us about it when we all came back to school from the holidays…

  9. I worked with Dele in the early 80s at Syracuse University’s FM station, WAER-FM. Before he DJed there, he would call the station and say, “Play Joy Division”, then hang up. A week later, he showed up with his bag of records and asked, “Why don’t you play Joy Division?” We didn’t have the records, but that situation got corrected.

    My best Dele story involves the time I convinced him (after many attempts) to visit my apartment on campus. I made him a cup of tea, and he said, “This is horrible. You didn’t even boil the water, did you?” Of course, he was right. Proving once again, as he so often did, what do Americans know about anything?

  10. Just thought I must catch up with Dele now I’m back in london and after searching online for a contact I’m bereft to find out he died. In my opinion Dele was the best writer in NME and travelled to US regularly for them, he introduced Hip Hop to indie crowd, but later sidelined as sales dwindled in my music press with them taking on a more sanguine approach rather than Dele’s crafted prose. He noticed everything, was a gentleman, had a hint of a lisp and gave great hugs. The world has lost a good ‘un.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here