Blues fans and fellow musicians around the world are tonight paying their respects to former blues legend Hounslow Sloane who died last night.
Best known for his 'fare-dodging' style of electrified guitar playing, Sloane revolutionised the underground blues scene of the late 60s.
Born to rather poor agricultural scientists in London's Deep South, Sloane was born in Croydon in an experimental cotton field on his father's allotment. When the family's crop failed, his family, like many of the local academics, moved up north to Oxford in search of further grant money.
Having been told from an early age that he was the seventh son of the seventh son, it was on his 18th birthday that he finally realised that he was in fact an only child, with no uncles.
It was only then that his parents explained that the family was cursed by innumeracy, and admitted that they still sometimes 'miscount' their children.
The stigma of his parents' innumeracy would weigh heavily on the young Sloane, and he found himself retreating into his music. But 'being crap at maths' was a genetic curse, and it would affect Sloane's musical future in ways he would never have imagined.
His first hit, A Whole Lot of Love, was ridiculed for its fudging and lack of numerical precision. Unnoticed by most listeners, this was first pointed out publically by a small group of amateur radio enthusiasts, who also played in a small music combo in the weekends.
Stairway to Heaven, his next number one, was also pounced on by the shy folk musicians, now calling themselves Led Zeppelin, in an attempt to hide their crippling shyness through wild overcompensation.
They took Sloane to court, and convinced the judge that Stairway to Heaven was simply a 'rip off' of their popular jingle Heaven to Stairways. All he'd done was play it backwards, claimed the tallest of the boys.
But, when the judge brought his record player into the court and asked them to demonstrate, their case broke down, as they admitted the idea of playing their record backwards was still 'a bit too scary' for them.
The case was eventually settled out of court, and Led Zeppelin, having had their moment of fame, slipped quietly into the footnotes of music history.
Tragically, Sloane would never get to climb his Stairway to Heaven.
Following the path of his hero, the legendary Edward Johnston, Sloane's lifelong addiction to public transport, or 'the tube' as he called it, would destroy his creativity, and eventually his life.
Finding an unused ticket outside the court room, he thought he'd try a little bit of 'urban transit' for himself to celebrate his victory. But the heady thrill of riding the Picadilly Line left him with a taste for more.
By the end of the month he needed both branches of the Northern Line just to keep him steady, 'with a bit of Jubilee in the weekend', he ruefully added
When the money ran short, he would go for the cheaper intercity for a day or two. But as soon as the cheques came in again, he would head back undergound, eventually settling into the mind-numbing oblivion of the Circle Line.
Over the years, the legends about Sloane refused to die. That his unique style of guitarplaying and need for public transport was the result of disasterous caravan holidays as a young boy.
Or worse still, that he had sold his soul to the Devil.
And while the first maybe eventually turn out to be true, there is absolutely no evidence for the second. Neither the GLC nor the Arts Council have ever given Sloane any money.
Sloane spent his later years working as a building supervisor in the City of London to 'make the rent'. Starting as a janitor, he soon became became a cleaning officer, and eventually ended up as a sanitation facilitator for Lloyds of London.
And while hoovering up dropped diamonds and polishing gold urinals all day was a world away from his life as a bluesman, it gave him stability, a new start, and of course his own small fleet of Ferraris.
But sadly not even this could protect the blues legend and public transport junkie from himself. Having conquered his addiction to trains, he was exhausted and vulnerable to any new temptation.
In hindsight, buses were bound to come into his life sooner or later. And, when they finally did, Sloane would once again need to gorge himself himself on public transport.
According to the doctors, he had been waiting at a bus stop outside the bank all afternoon just to see a new bus, but then, according to eyewitnesses, three came along at once.
'It happens so often', said his doctors sadly.
RIP Hounslow Sloane (1947-2011) - Inspirational musician, and the first casualty of the new 'Boris Buses'