The death of Skyhooks guitarist Peter Starkie is the latest in a series of tragic events that befell one of Australia’s greatest rock bands.
Starkie, 72, died on Sunday after falling off a ladder at his home in Victoria, what his brother and fellow Skyhooks member Bob describe as a ‘stupid’ accident.
The father of three was one of the original members of the ARIA Hall of Fame band, which was Australia’s favorite band in the 1970s.
But Starkie’s death is just the latest in a string of tragedies to rock the band, with former sidekicks Steve Hill dying of liver cancer in 2005 and Graeme Strachan in a 2001 helicopter crash.
Their best-known member, Red Symons, also lost his son Samuel after a long battle with cancer, and recently suffered severe brain damage after a fall at his home.
Known as a glamorous 1970s rock band, Skyhooks appealed to a new era of music fans with lyrics related to life at the time.
The death of former Skyhooks guitarist Peter Starkie is the latest in a series of tragic events rocking one of the greatest Australian bands of the 1970s.
Former Skyhooks singer Peter Starkie (right) died on Sunday after falling off a ladder at his home. His death is the latest in a series of tragedies that rocked the famous 1970s Australian band
They shot straight to the top of the charts with their debut album Living in the 70s, released in October 1974.
Less than a year later, in July 1975, the band also reached number one with their album Ego Is Not a Dirty Word, which featured hits such as All My Friends Are Getting Married.
The band was formed in 1973 in the suburbs of Melbourne, with Hill, Peter Starkie, Peter Inglis, Imants ‘Freddie’ Strauks and Greg Macainsh forming the original line-up.
Within months, the group had a deal signed by Michael Gudinski, after some encouragement from former Daddy Cool frontman Ross Wilson.
Peter Starkie left the group in August 1973 and was replaced by his brother Bob, while Red Symons took over from Inglis on guitar and vocals.
They soon gathered a large following in Melbourne, but gave a poor performance at a local festival in early 1974, eventually resulting in a change of lead singer.
That same year they changed Hill’s lead singer to Strachan and released a top album, Living In The 70s with hits including Horror Movie.
Over the years that followed, they released numerous charts, and after their domestic success, flew to the United States to tackle the international market.
After Symons became one of the biggest bands in Australia, the first signs of a split came in 1977 when Symons left the group.
They officially broke up in 1980 after mixed reviews of their new album, which led them to place an ad in a newspaper that read ‘Why Don’t You All Get F *** ed’ – the name of one of their numbers.
The band would reform a number of times over the next 15 years, before ending their association in 1992.
‘Freddie’ Strauks, ‘Shirley’ Strachan, Red Symons and Bob ‘Bongo’ Starkie during an interview in 1976
The band was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1992 after achieving multiple number one albums and highest rated singles (pictured are some of the band members in their typical lairish outfits)
The band’s lead singer, Graeme “Shirley” Strachan, died in a 2001 helicopter accident
Surfers gather in the water above Noose, where ‘Shirley’s’ ashes were scattered in the ocean
A few years later, the group was first struck by tragedy when Symons’ then four-year-old son Samuel was diagnosed with cancer.
THE SKYHOOKS CURSE:
1976: The band split up after a wave of number one albums. Despite trying to get the band back together a number of times, they never reach their lofty heights
1995: Red Symons’ son Samuel is diagnosed with cancer
2001: Graeme “Shirley” Strachan is killed in a helicopter crash in rural Queensland
2005: The band’s first vocalist, Steve Hill, dies after a long battle with liver cancer
2017: Red Symons suffers serious brain damage after falling and hitting his head on a sidewalk
2018: Symons’ son Samuel dies at the age of 27 after more than 20 years of fighting against cancer
He would fight the disease for 23 years before dying in 2018.
His father paid an emotional tribute to his son on radio station 3AW in Melbourne.
“Samuel, I’ve always loved you. I will Always Love You. I’ll always have you, ”he said on the air.
The Skyhooks’ curse continued when Strachan died after the helicopter he was flying solo crashed into regional Queensland on August 29, 2001.
A post-crash report from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that Strachan did not take into account the wind around a mountain range while flying.
More bad news hit the group in 2005, when Hill died after a long battle with liver cancer.
Symons himself was then battling serious health problems when he fell and hit his head on a concrete sidewalk in July 2017.
The then ABC Melbourne breakfast host suffered serious brain injuries and left the station later that same year, after his contract was not renewed.
A year before his fall, he had split up with 25-year-old woman Elly.
Last year, he admitted that he ‘keeps crying every day’ after losing his son, his job and his marriage.
“I still cry about that every day,” Symons told Good Weekend of the tragic death of his son.
“Ultimately, with his recent… let’s just say, death… what I clung to was the idea of telling him I loved him.
The band’s most famous member, Red Symons, lost his son Samuel (right) in 2018 after a 23-year battle with cancer
Steve Hill (center) was the original lead singer in the band, but died in 2005 after a battle with liver cancer
He left with grace and dignity. He was in a good place with good people, and I don’t think he went out with discomfort or fear. ‘
Peter Starkie’s latest tragic death sparked his brother’s emotional tribute, who shared the news on Skyhooks’ Facebook page.
“Very sad to bring the news that my brother Peter was tragically killed in one of those stupid ladder accidents,”
Peter George Starkie was born in Sydney in 1948, he was only 72 when he took the plunge and still had a lot of life ahead of him.
‘Besides being a fantastic guitar player, he was a brother I looked up to. He was going to be a father to three wonderful daughters. A stepdaughter Alice. and Ruby and Stella.
“Fortunately, he has lived inseparably with partner Dianna for the past twenty years.”
The post The Curse of Skyhooks: The Death of Peter Starkie, the latest in a series of tragedies appeared first on WhatsNew2Day.