The father of top Kiwi songwriter and musician Don McGlashan - and the inspiration for his song Envy of Angels - has died.

Bain McGlashan died, aged 89, at North Shore Hospital on Thursday.

His son tributed him as a man who loved to "decode the world" as he explained the meaning behind Envy of Angels last year.

"As a civil engineer, and a teacher of engineering, he loved to decode the world. I always remember standing on a beach with him, he would pick up a rock and it wasn't just a rock to him, it was evidence of enormous forces years ago and great heat.


"He had the ability to see the meaning that underlies everything."

Listen to Envy of Angels here.