Thursday, September 28, 2006

In Memoriam - Jamie Lyons - 60s Rocker

Jamie Lyons at Comfest 06 - photo: Charlie Einhorn

Jamie Lyons was a powerful presence on High Street, hub of the OSU Campus in the late 60s. He sang lead with the band "Hard Sauce", a favorite hard rockin' band that played at the old South 'Berg. He would put such strength and feeling in his rendition of Street Fightin' Man, a hormone-laden classic Rolling Stones hit of the era - that on more than one occasion, the place would literally empty out sending frenzied rockers and hippies out in the streets searching for mischief. This was a special time when student protests, coupled with anti-war sentiments and general mistrust by our generation of "anyone older than 30", was the rage. Music could move mountains -well… it certainly moved us!

Jamie brushed fame with his version of "Little Bit o" Soul" he recorded as lead singer of The Music Explosion in 1967. The song was a hit that rose to number 2 in the charts. It has since then remained forever enshrined in the traditional repertoire of countless "garage bands" that still include the tune as a favorite, even today.

Ro-z Mendelson, who was then a roadie for Hard Sauce, remembers -as quoted in an article in today's Columbus Dispatch- that: "He was one of the greatest singers. He could just belt out a song like nobody else," and ""Onstage, he was powerful and he’d win everybody over".

As large and dounting as his stage persona was, off-stage he was a warm, gentle, down-to-earth, likeable guy who, like most of us, liked to hang out with friends.

Although he never achieved the fame that was surely due to him, he kept on singing occasionally. For the past two years, he was a featured guest star appearing with the Mendelsonics at Comfest 06 and 05. An enthusiastic large crowd of old friends and new fans cheerd him on at the outdoor art festival last June, as he was performing with the band on the Gazebo stage. At one point he was overcome with a sudden episode that left him confused and dazed. Most folks didn't notice anything as they danced and swayed to the music, and he did recover and finish his set, but the event left him shaken. He had had a history of heart trouble and may have suffered an attack that evening. He returned to his home in South Carolina and seemed to be doing well for a few months but he suddenly collapsed last week, working in his garden where his daughter found him.

He was 57 years old. He was a friend and I will miss him.

For more info, read today's article in the Columbus Dispatch that relates his life and quotes friends and contemporaries.

I have not yet heard of any memorial event (party?) scheduled for Jamie, but promise to inform you in this blog as soon as I find out what's planned.


Sandra said...

Hey Charlie,
Sitting in India with a friend reading Jims websites, and camee across yours. very sweet picture. just to straighten out some of your facts, one being, there was no history of heart problems with jim, and I found him in the garden...just in case you are interested...
Sandy Lyons(jims wife)You can get in touch, if you want at will be working here, in India fior 6 months..Jims favorite place to live

Anonymous said...

I knew Jamie while in school in Galion and found him to be one of those that just didn’t fit into the local crowd and could never place my finger on just why. I found him to be a great guy in class and in school in general and never got a chance to see him after he moved away with his mom and struck it big in the music seen. Not many called him a friend in those days but after he had the big hit he was of course everyone’s best friend. I am so sorry to hear about his death and wish his family all the best.