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Richard "Bubbles" Richardson
updated: Feb 17, 2014, 12:32 PM

Richard "Bubbles" Richardson 1945-2014

Richard Richardson was born in a small town outside of London, England on March 2nd, 1945. Richard never knew his father, an RAF pilot by all accounts, who was shot down in his Spitfire while defending Great Britain against the German Luftwaffe. After the war Richard's mother moved the family to Santa Barbara, California. She and the children became US citizens soon thereafter.

After graduating from Santa Barbara High School in 1963 Richard attended Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) and eventually joined the Army. While on duty in Nuremberg, Germany, Richard met Cy Langston who was playing guitar in a band and the two quickly forged a lasting friendship. Cy would later become the road manager for The Who while Richard made his way back to Santa Barbara where in 1971 he partnered with Bob Fanara to open Fancy Music. Anyone who purchased a quality guitar in Santa Barbara during those years likely did so at Fancy Music. Sepp Donahower, co-founder of Pacific Presentations, a major concert promoter in the 1970s, met Richard shortly after he'd purchased a home on Hot Springs Road. "Richard," according to Sepp, "had a knack for finding the best vintage guitars on the planet and Fancy Music quickly became one of the best music stores in the country. That house on Hot Springs Road became the post concert destination where Richard and myself along with friends Van, Nipper, Mansour, Burgie, Guy and our entourage, hosted huge parties for the bands including Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, Jackson Browne, Joe Walsh and countless others. Richard always made sure there was an endless supply of Deutz champagne for everyone. Those were truly the best days of our lives for which we all have wonderful Richard "Bubbles" Richardson to thank."

Richard's passion for food, music, art, Formula One racing (especially the Ferraris), fine wines and champagne (hence the nickname Bubbles) was surpassed only by his love of making people laugh. He also had nicknames for his many friends including Killa, Uncle Cy and Ferrari Bob, smothered in Richard's thick English accent. His close friends and many acquaintances considered him generous to a fault. His friend Raj recalls that, "when you met Richard he would want to know your birthday, then on your birthday he would give you a vintage from your birth year-that was his way." In the years that followed the closing of Fancy Music, Richard became a fixture at many of Santa Barbara's best known eateries and watering holes where he read his newspaper and regaled the wait staff and bartenders with lively tales of fast cars, backstage adventures and Rock n Roll's glory days. A week prior to his passing from cancer, Richard enjoyed one last visit and a few laughs along with his favorite roast beef sandwich delivered by longtime friends "Ferrari" Bob Callahan and Van Basham.

A Celebration of Life will be held this Saturday, February 22nd from 11am-3pm at the El Paseo Restaurant, 10 El Paseo, Santa Barbara 93101. Ph: 805-962-6050.

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