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Harvey James
Photo by Ros O'Gorman

Sherbet Guitarist Harvey James Loses Battle With Cancer

By Paul Cashmere
Sun, 16 Jan 2011 07:38:55 +1100

Sherbet guitarist Harvey James has lost his battle with lung cancer. He died last night in Melbourne at 8.15pm. He was 58.

Harvey’s daughter Alexandra broke the news to fans when she posted at the ‘Send Your Love To Harvey James’ Facebook page “Dad passed away peacefully at 8.15pm tonight. We would like to thank everybody for all the wonderful support over the past 6 months. The love has been overwhelming. Rest in peace my gorgeous, funny, amazing father. We will miss you everyday forever”.

Harvey was born on September 20, 1952.

Harvey James had been a well-known face in Australian music before joining Sherbet in 1975. He was a member of Mississippi with Beeb Birtles and Graham Goble in the early 70’s. Goble and Birtles went on to later former Little River Band.

In 1974, Harvey had a short stint as a member of Ariel, featuring Spectrum singer Mike Rudd.

In 1975, his big gig came. Founding Sherbet guitarist Clive Shakespeare left Sherbet. Harvey filled the gap.

Sherbet was already Australia’s biggest pop group. Every Australian teenager at the time had a favourite Sherbet member.  They were the poster band of the country.

Joining Sherbet meant instant pop stardom for Harvey. The next album ‘Howzat’ became the biggest album the band would ever have.

‘Howzat’ spent two weeks at number one on the Australian album chart. The title track was also a number one single and became an Australian pop classic. ‘Howzat’, the single, also reached number 4 in the UK in 1976. Sherbet was now an international band.

The band recorded two more albums under the name Sherbet but in 1978 changed the name to Highway and their style to rock in an attempt to capture the American market. It not only failed in the USA but fans in Australia also failed to adapt to the new style.

In 1980, the group changed their name once again, this time to Sherbs. Sherbs released ‘The Skill’ in 1980 and ‘Defying Gravity’ in 1981 but could not reignite the excitement of the 70s. 

Harvey left Sherbet at the end of 1982. The band broke up in 1984.

Harvey announced he had lung cancer just six months ago.  He was being treated at the Peter McCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

His son Joshua posted at the Facebook site, “Tonight has been rough on us, but he is finally at rest and is no longer in pain. RIP dad, I love you, you’ll always be my hero.”

Sherbet planned to reform for a benefit show for Harvey in Sydney in February. Harvey had planned to perform one last time with the group. Undercover will keep you updated as to the status of the show.

You can 'Send Your Love To Harvey James' here

VIDEO: Sherbet - Howzat




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