“It is with great pain in our hearts that we have to inform you about the passing of Chris Bailey, singer and songwriter of The Saints, on April the 9th 2022,” the post reads. “Chris lived a life of poetry and music and stranded on a Saturday night,” it continued, a reference to the band’s 1976 debut single ‘(I’m) Stranded’.
Bailey was born in 1957 in Nanyuki, Kenya to Irish parents. He grew up in Belfast until the age of seven, when he and his family moved to Brisbane, Australia. Bailey formed The Saints in 1973 with guitarist Ed Kuepper and drummer Ivor Hay, originally calling themselves Kid Galahad and the Eternals.
By the time they released their debut album, 1977’s (I’m) Stranded, Kym Bradshaw had joined on bass. The album’s eponymous lead single has maintained a significant place in Australian music history, with APRA naming it as one of its Top 30 Australian songs of all time in 2001. Last year, the State Library of Queensland named its 7″ vinyl copy of the single as one of the treasures in its John Oxley Library collection, writing that the song has “[influenced] generations of bands around the world.”
With the departure of Kuepper and Hay in 1979 following the albums Eternally Yours and Prehistoric Sounds the previous year, Bailey continued to front the Saints for over four more decades, with a revolving personnel lineup that has included drummers Peter Wilkinson and Iain Shedden, the Birthday Party‘s Tracy Pew, Davey Lane of You Am I and many more. The Saints’ last album was 2012’s King of the Sun.
Among those who’ve paid tribute to Bailey since the news of his death are Kuepper, former Cure drummer Lol Tolhurst, Guns N’ Roses‘ Duff McKagan, Frenzal Rhomb‘s Lindsay McDougall, Dave Graney, actor Rhys Muldoon and more. See those below.
2/2 I couldn't have hoped 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. I'll post something longer down the track but for now..
— Ed Kuepper (@EdKuepper) April 10, 2022
RIP Chris Bailey of The Saints. (I’m) Stranded was the song of my late teens.
— Lol Tolhurst (@LolTolhurst) April 10, 2022
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
Another legend down. This one a co-creator of punk music. RIP Chris Bailey. pic.twitter.com/pjID8YExmg
— Lindsay McDowens (@doctormcdougall) 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
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
Chris Bailey of The Saints has died.
A giant in punk music’s history, and present. What a loss. RIP Chris. pic.twitter.com/kwPpZWzfUb
— Zan Rowe (@zanrowe) April 10, 2022
Sad news that Chris Bailey, front man of seminal Brisbane band The Saints, has passed away. The Saints were inducted into the ARIA Hall Of Fame in 2001. Our thoughts are with Chris’ family, friends and fans. pic.twitter.com/wP2i3IiGAJ
— ARIA (@ARIA_Official) April 10, 2022