I knew Baz very well as a good friend, I also knew his family having spent many weekends at his home in what was Lower Bevendean, a suburb of Brighton.
He actually died in 1972 aged 29, whilst serving in submarines, and he was by all accounts a typical wild submariner with a great liking for booze when ashore (weren't we all). He was on a run ashore in Gibraltar and whilst visiting the Apes den, he was clowning around on the parapet and fell over the edge and was killed. I learned this from his Dad, whom I met when he was working at his job as a Booking Clerk at Brighton station.
Baz Prior was a brash, gregarious and very generous man but in fact quite lonely, as I saw him. We became firm friends when he joined 'The Jokers' rock band as the drummer in about 1959, simultaneously joining the Apps brass band as a side drummer, where I was already a member. We had loads of good gigs locally in the Fareham and Pompey area, and Baz improved very quickly. He loved inviting guys to his home in Brighton where they were spoiled rotten by his family. On one occasion his Mum put up the rock band including Bill Butler, the late Jim Balmforth and myself in their already crowded suburban semi, and fed us like kings, we performed for two nights in the 'Hikers Rest' a large pub which I believe still exists on the outskirts of the city.
I was privileged to attend his wedding in 1962, It was suggested that I might be best man, but in the end Danny Mandry did an excellent job in the role, and it was a typical Baz style hooley. In fact after his Stag run it was amazing that any of us made it back to his home and to the wedding the next day. There's a lot to be said for the modern way of holding the Stag a week before.
I was very upset when I learned of his death, he was a real character and I will never forget that ever cheerful, bouncy little guy and no doubt he is still playing drums for a band 'upstairs'.
In conclusion, I'm sure that ex-'Buccaneers' Andy Lovesy, Jim Harris, Rod Humphreys and Phil Howarth for whom he also played drums later on, would echo my sentiments.
RIP Barry you were one of the best....always your oppo.