Harvey James, guitarist for popular Australian band Sherbet and member of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) Hall of Fame, has died at 58 after a six-month battle with lung cancer. A post on Facebook from his son, Gabriel James, said “A very sincere thankyou to everyone for all the support and love you have shown us over the last 6 months and all the beautiful messages you have all left today. Its very heartwarming… to know how much of an impact he has had on so many lives.”
Harvey James’ first major group was Mississippi, who later became known as Little River Band. James then played in progressive rock group Ariel until 1975 when he left them to join Sherbet. His first recording with Sherbet, “Howzat,” was a number one hit in Australia, but it failed to reach the American Top 40. Subsequent albums and singles produced hits in Australia, the UK and many other countries, but stateside success continued to elude Sherbet.
In 1979, the band decided to break up, but reformed in 1980 under a new name, The Sherbs. As The Sherbs, the band finally began to achieve recognition in the US, and yet the Australian audience all but ignored them. Harvey James left the band in 1982 and they would break up again in 1984. James participated in several reunions with the band as Sherbet.
James was also an original member of The Party Boys, a cover band/supergroup with a rotating cast of players that at various times included members of Status Quo, Divinyls and Swanee as well as Joe Walsh, Eric Burdon, Paul Christie and many more.
James is survived by his wife Faye, his sons Gabriel and Joshua, and daughter Alexandra.