Friend saw ghost walk through wall

LAST week I detailed the weird experience of Louisiana rocker Jaze Wade, who has been declared clinically dead no less than three times, and the profound effect such experiences have had upon his outlook on life.

This week we'll take a look at another music legend, Del Newman, and his own strange encounters with the unknown.

Del has worked on albums by Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Elton John, 10cc, Cat Stevens, Neil Sedaka, Art Garfunkel and many more artists, and is one of the UK's top orchestral arrangers and conductors.

He has recently released his memoir A Touch From God – It's Only Rock and Roll, and in it he provides a fascinating, warts-and-all insight into the world of the professional musician.

Del was born to a West African father and Irish mother, but was eventually adopted by the Newman family in Kent.

The Newmans had an old piano, and Del loved playing on it so much that he started to take music lessons at the age of seven.

During World War Two he was evacuated to the village of Hanging Heaton in West Yorkshire, where his love of tinkling with the ivories continued unabated.

"I had a wonderful time there," he told me when I interviewed him. "We only had one bomb drop there, and it landed in a field."

Later, Del joined the Royal Navy and, when stationed on a cruiser, he found his musical tastes greatly influenced by the Hungarian composer Bla Bartk. The rest, as they say, is history.

In 1988, Del and his wife moved to Wales from Gloucestershire, and took up residence in an old vicarage.

They'd often have friends round to stay, but there was one particular bedroom in the house which always had an icy atmosphere and was never popular with visitors.

One friend did spend the night in the room, however, with startling consequences.

She was woken at 3am by a noise, and was amazed to see a man in Elizabethan costume standing at the foot of the bed.

The chap just smiled and then receded through one of the walls. The friend had obviously seen a ghost.

Del then related another incident to me: "When I was younger, a friend and I were invited to a party.

"My pal mixed his drinks and ended up being sick, which required a quick trip to the bathroom. You know how it is.

"Anyway, on coming back downstairs, he asked the woman who owned the flat, 'What's the name of your cat?'"

"Puzzled, she asked my friend, 'What cat?'

"He described the moggy he'd seen near the bathroom, and was astonished when she told him that it had been her pet, but that it had actually died six years earlier."

Del doesn't claim to have had many strange encounters during his life – a life which has been filled with myriad rich experiences in the music business – but admitted to me that he'd once felt the sheets being pulled from his bed during the night by something in the room.

"I might have been dreaming, of course," he told me, "… but I don't think so."

Del's book is a fascinating account of the life of a professional musician. The foreword was written by none other than Gordon Giltrap, who was a regular on Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test more years ago than I care to remember.

Del also once had a series of extraordinary encounters with Uri Geller, which he describes in detail in A Touch From God.

Intrigued? You should be, and can read more in the book itself.

Don't miss it.

* A Touch From God: It's Only Rock & Roll by Del Newman is published by Apex Publishing, priced at 12.99, and is available from Amazon.co.uk and good book stores.