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First published in June 2009, last updated November 2011

Chris Whitehead (drummer) passed away in late May 2009.


Rest in peace Chris, heaven will be one noisy place with you tapping on anything that will make a noise - such was his passion for music.  I last saw Chris in 1975 a life time ago.  Phil, sorry about the belated condolences I have just learned of his passing and I had to say goodbye.  I met Chris & you guys from Beam when came to Auckland from Christchurch the minute we met Chris's charisma shone thru and an immediate bond was formed, as was his way.  Many good times were had in the next year or two with all you guys, a time which I hold dear in my heart.  The world is a lesser place without his kind soul. - Jim & Gwen Blackburn 
I was saddened to recently learn of Chris's passing.  Along with his brother, Phil, I was an a part of the early formative years of Beam, along with Ray "Wally" Dunn and Don Mills.  As a (then) young, "under-age" vocalist of the group, Chris taught me a lot about the pub music scene, which stood me in good stead for a career that was to span more than 30 years in the local Christchurch pub and club scene.  Thanks for all the good memories Chris.  You are sadly missed - George Tanner
I have never ever played with such a drummer like Chris, he could "play" my vocal, especially on the track "3am Hamilton Sunday Morning", where he and I nailed it on the first take.  It's still one of the best songs I have done, thank you Chris.  (Along with bros Phil and Mike)  I won't ever forget you Chris, RIP - Ritchie Pickett
Thank you all for your respects, bro Chris was my mentor, he got me playing with him in pubs whilst it was only just 10pm closing (I was 17), this worked cos the law said he was my guardian just as long as I didn't "consume".  Still many years continued and Chris and I continued as "brother" musicians right up to the "Ritchie Pickett -- All Strung Out in a Bunch" CD where all three Whitehead brothers, Chris, Phil and Mike were the mainstay on all the tracks.  RIP my brother, only two bro's left now after three generations from England.  Thank you all for caring - Phil Whitehead
Most of you will know Chris for his drumming and boundless enthusiasm, and the odd foray on flute as well.  His work with Christchurch bands throughout the sixties and seventies leaves a legacy we should all remember, in particular with the group Beam along with Larry McKay, Laurie Dee, Don Mills, Tony McMaster and brother Phil.  In later years Chris pushed to the limits his dream of a DVD/Video tutoring system.  I have a copy and it has quietly moved to the top shelf tonight.  Chris takes with him a little bit of all of us.  Reflect if you will - Neville Claughton
Sad news indeed.  I recall Chris well.  He was a top shelf drummer.  He always had time for you, he was a great guy.  I first worked with Beam years ago, line up as you describe exactly.  I recall a street concert out-side the Papakura Tavern, way back in the late 70’s when Beam moved up to Auckland.  My thoughts go out to Chris and his family. - Tom Sharplin
RIP CHRIS...Unfortunately I won't be here/there. Hope it's a good sendoff. - Ray Columbus
Hoping 2 make memorial gig 4 Chris.  Nga mihi - Dilworth Karaka
R.I.P. Chris.  All of us here at Melmusic have many fond memories of the times you worked for us.  In fact, your outdoor faux Marshall cabinet still stands on the verandah of the store, intact to this day.  You leave us with memories of many crazy days, hazy nights and the (now sadly gone) creation of the infamous Silent Guitar Room……infamous for being louder on the outside than the inside!! - fondly remembered by Brad Coates and all of us here at Melmusic
(click here to email me your tribute to Chris and I'll add it in -

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