Jeremy Clarkson leads tributes as Top Gear theme tune musician dies

Dickey Betts, who was the musician behind the Top Gear theme tune, has died at the age of 80, with former presenter Jeremy Clarkson leading the tributes
Dickey Betts, who was the musician behind the Top Gear theme tune, has died at the age of 80, with former presenter Jeremy Clarkson leading the tributes -Credit:Getty Images

Jeremy Clarkson has led heartfelt tributes to Dickey Betts, the musician behind the Top Gear theme tune, who has sadly passed away at the age of 80. The co-founder of the Allman Brothers and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, known for hits like Ramblin' Man, died on Thursday after battling cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) for over a year.

Clarkson, the former Top Gear presenter, paid his respects to Betts on X, penning: "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 iconic riff from Jessica graced the opening credits of Top Gear since its inception in 1977 and again from the reboot in 2002. Interestingly, the famous tune was written for Betts' daughter.

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Betts' family confirmed his passing to Rolling Stone, stating: "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 has been dealing with personal losses as well, comforting his girlfriend Lisa following a tragic death on his farm, Diddly Squat, reports the Mirror.

The presenter turned farmer, who now hosts his own agricultural show on Amazon Prime titled 'Clarkson's Farm', faced a tragic turn of events in an upcoming episode. Jeremy Clarkson and his partner Lisa Hogan were confronted with the devastating loss of a group of piglets under dire circumstances, despite Jeremy's initial plans to concentrate on pig farming over dairy.

In a particularly poignant moment on the show, Jeremy is seen tending to his pigs after they birthed their first litter of tiny piglets. However, it soon becomes apparent that the situation is grim for the newborns.

In a nighttime scene, Jeremy's voice is filled with concern as he reaches into an incubator and remarks, "One of them is as weak as hell."

Tragically, just hours later, he presents Lisa with two piglets that have passed away. Lisa's reaction is one of immediate sorrow as she exclaims, "Oh no," and breaks down in tears while holding the lifeless animals. A heart-wrenching sequence follows, capturing Lisa weeping and seeking comfort in Jeremy's embrace, before the scene fades out.

Speaking to The Times, Jeremy reflected on the harsh realities of farming, noting, "A cow has one calf, whereas the last bout of births we had, one of our pigs had fourteen piglets."

He continued, "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."