Jeremy Clarkson leads emotional tributes as BBC Top Gear legend dies

Jeremy Clarkson has led heartfelt tributes following the death of Top Gear theme tune composer Dickey Betts, who passed away at the age of 80.

The renowned guitarist and singer, a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band famed for their classic ‘Ramblin’ Man’, was also celebrated for his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His composition ‘Jessica’ became iconic as the soundtrack to the BBC’s Top Gear programme, reports the Mirror.

Betts’ battle with cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) came to an end on Thursday. Clarkson, 64, and a former presenter of Top Gear, took to social media to honour Betts, stating: “Dicky Betts has died. You probably haven’t heard of him. But he wrote a song called Jessica. And you will DEFINITELY have heard that.”

The memorable riff from ‘Jessica’ graced the opening credits of Top Gear since its original airing in 1977 and throughout the show’s revival starting in 2002. Interestingly, the track was originally penned in tribute to Betts’ own daughter.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, his family expressed their sorrow: “The legendary performer, songwriter, bandleader and family patriarch was at his home in Osprey, Florida, surrounded by his family,” adding, “Dickey was larger than life, and his loss will be felt worldwide. At this difficult time, the family asks for prayers and respect for their privacy in the coming days.”

Clarkson himself is no stranger to personal loss, recently offering support to his partner Lisa Hogan amidst a devastating bereavement at their farm, Diddly Squat.

The presenter-turned farmer has his own agriculture programme on Amazon Prime, Clarkson’s Farm. On an upcoming episode of the show, Jeremy and Lisa found a group of piglets had sadly died under horrific circumstances, after he had hoped to focus on pig farming rather than dairy.

Clarkson can be seen caring for his pigs after they welcomed their first litter of tiny piglets. However, things take a turn for the worst as the piglets begin to die.

One scene filmed at night, shows Jeremy reaching into an incubator and saying: “One of them is as weak as hell.”

Hours later, he hands Lisa two piglets who have sadly died. Lisa says: “Oh no,” before bursting into tears, cradling the two small creatures. A heartbreaking scene then shows Lisa sobbing as she puts her head into a distraught Jeremy’s neck, before the cameras cut out. Jeremy told The Times : “A cow has one calf, whereas the last bout of births we had, one of our pigs had fourteen piglets”.

“That’s a lot of money. I reckoned the pigs would provide something that’s sadly lacking in farming today: a bit of genuine happiness. It was almost unbelievably sad, we had a catastrophically high level of deaths. The piglets were sadly accidentally crushed by their mothers while some died of natural causes in infancy.”


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