Chris Bailey, lead singer of Australian rock band The Saints, dies aged 65
Chris Bailey, lead singer of Australian rock band The Saints, has died aged 65.
The band confirmed the news of Bailey’s death on their official Facebook page this morning. No cause of death was given. The message read: “It is with great pain in our hearts that we must inform you of the passing of Chris Bailey, singer and songwriter of The Saints, on April 9, 2022.”
“Chris lived a life of poetry and music and got stranded on a Saturday night.”
Bailey was born in Kenya in 1957 to Irish parents, spending the first seven years of his life in Belfast. They moved to Brisbane, Australia, where Bailey met guitarist Ed Kuepper and drummer Ivor Hay in high school. The trio formed the band in 1973 (originally called Kid Galahad and the Eternals), which would go through various lineups over the following years.
In 1974 they changed the name to The Saints, and Jeffrey Wegner joined on drums, with Hay moving to bass guitar. Wegner left the band the following year, returning Hay on drums and welcoming Kym Bradshaw on bass.
The band had their first hit in 1976 with “(I’m) Stranded”, and released their debut album of the same name the following year. They went on to release 13 more records, including ‘Prodigal Son’, ‘Eternally Yours’, ‘Prehistoric Sounds’ and ‘All Fools Day’, among others. “Just Like Fire Would”, their first single from the latter album, was covered by Bruce Springsteen on his 2014 album “High Hopes”.
In 2001, The Saints were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame and were hailed as one of the most influential bands in the Australian punk scene of the 70s.
Bailey, who was the oldest member of the group, also released a number of solo albums.
Tributes have poured in since news of his death broke, with former teammate Ed Kuepper writing: ‘Very sad to confirm the news of Chris Bailey’s death this weekend. Chris and I met when we were around 14 during our confinement at Oxley High School and became close friends which later grew into what I always thought was an extremely strong artistic partnership.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better singer. My deepest condolences to his wife Elisabet, his sisters Margaret, Carol and Maureen and the rest of his family and loved ones.
very sad to confirm the news of Chris Bailey’s death this weekend. Chris and I met when we were about 14 during our confinement at Oxley High School and became close friends who then grew into what I always thought was an extremely strong artistic partnership, 1/2 pic.twitter.com/hQVKKHYgzT
— Ed Kuepper (@EdKuepper) April 10, 2022
Others, like Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses, Jimmy Barnes, Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Dave Graney, Lindsay McDowens of Frenzal Rhomb and many more have paid tribute online.
Read the tributes below.
Rest in peace Chris Bailey. 21 years is a long, long time to be in this prison when there is no crime. Saints forever! https://t.co/rWuvv8r49G
— Duff McKagan (@DuffMcKagan) April 10, 2022
One of the greatest songwriters produced by this country has died. His band The Saints were punks before punk. He was a master of words and helped tell our story. RIPChris Bailey pic.twitter.com/jTSdiyKBLy
—Jimmy Barnes (@JimmyBarnes) April 11, 2022
Chris Bailey One of the best singers The 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 looking a lot like Chuck Berry. He met the world on his terms. Was not easily commodified. There’s a track called That Depends on the Ed Jean Lee And The Yellow Dog album where Chris sings and you hear how 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
Sad news that Chris Bailey, frontman of Brisbane’s founding band The Saints, has died. The Saints were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2001. Our hearts go out to Chris’ family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/wP2i3IiGAJ
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) April 10, 2022
RIP Chris Bailey. One of our biggest.
I had the pleasure of staying at his amazing hiking home in Queen St, Woollahra. He was incredibly generous, wickedly funny, and exactly what a rock star should be. Legend.
— Rhys Muldoon (@rhysam) April 10, 2022