Seminal Australian punk rock band The Saints’ original singer and lyricist, Chris Bailey, dies at 65. The Saints were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame in 2001, and have been hailed as one of the most influential bands in the 1970s Australian punk scene.
The announcement was made via a statement on The Saints’ social media. It states that he died on Saturday, April 9. “Chris lived a life of poetry and music and stranded on a Saturday night,” it says.
Born in Belfast, Bailey’s parents moved him to Brisbane, Australia, when he was a child. He co-founded the Saints with Ed Kuepper and Ivor Hay in the early 1970s. The band’s debut album (I’m) Stranded was released in 1977, following the success of the single, the album “(I’m) Stranded” debuting in 1976. It was quickly followed by 1978’s Prehistoric Sounds and Eternally Yours.
The band released 14 studio albums in all.
“I’ve managed to keep my head above water and indulge in my obsessions, of which making records is one,”
Bailey says in a 2013 interview (per Pitchfork), “Not that I’m content with life, because I certainly am not, but I am happy with the way things have panned out. I know people who are more successful than I who feel trapped in pop stardom. There’s a lot to say for being a rat bag on the outskirts of show business because show business has always sucked and always will. I’m kind of happy being in the prairie on the outside, goddamnit.”
Bailey was the only mainstay of the band’s revolving lineup. Touring began for the band with gigs following their last album, 2012’s “King of the Sun”. In the 1980s and 1990s, Bailey released numerous solo albums under his own name.
In 2021, an original 7″ copy of “(I’m) Stranded” was added to the treasure collection of Queensland’s State Library, the John Oxley Library.
Tributes have been flowing in since the news first broke. Former bandmate Ed Kuepper writes on Twitter:
“Very sad to confirm the news about Chris Bailey dying on the weekend. Chris and I met when we were about 14 during detention at Oxley High School and became close friends which later developed into what I always thought was an extremely strong artistic partnership.”
very sad to confirm the news about Chris Bailey dying on the weekend. Chris and I met when we were about 14 during detention at Oxley High School and became close friends which later developed into what I always thought was an extremely strong artistic partnership, 1/2 pic.twitter.com/hQVKKHYgzT
— Ed Kuepper (@EdKuepper) April 10, 2022
Other friends such as Guns N’ Roses‘ Duff McKagan, Jimmy Barnes, Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Dave Graney, Frenzal Rhomb’s Lindsay McDowens and more have paid their respects online. Read the tributes below:
Rest In Peace Chris Bailey. 21 years is a long, long time-to be in this prison when there ain't no crime. Saints forever! https://t.co/rWuvv8r49G
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) April 10, 2022
One of the greatest songwriters this country produced has passed away. His band The Saints were punks before punk. He was a master of words and helped tell our story. RIP Chris Bailey pic.twitter.com/jTSdiyKBLy
— Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) April 11, 2022
Chris Bailey One of the best singers Thé Saints one of the best bands. Vale and thank you Chris. pic.twitter.com/dLxvROvrvc
— Warren Ellis (@warrenellis13) April 10, 2022
How perfect were the Saints? I saw Chris Bailey as being a lot like Chuck Berry. He met the world on his terms. Wasn’t easily commodified. There’s a track called That Depends on Ed’s album Jean Lee And The Yellow Dog where Chris sings and you hear how great the combination of pic.twitter.com/v1Qgy5O5Bd
— dave graney (@davegraney) April 10, 2022
Another legend down. This one a co-creator of punk music. RIP Chris Bailey. pic.twitter.com/pjID8YExmg
— Lindsay McDowens (@doctormcdougall) April 10, 2022
RIP Chris Bailey. One of our greatest.
Had the pleasure of staying at his amazing, rambling home at Queen St, Woollahra. He was incredibly generous, wickedly funny and just what a rock star should be. Legend.
— Rhys Muldoon (@rhysam) April 10, 2022
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