One of the most touching examples of the greatness of the communications we now have with social media was the connection both Steve Prestwich and Harvey James were able to share with each other in the past month via Facebook.
Sherbet guitarist Harvey James was diagnosed with lung cancer six-months ago and in the last month of his life used Facebook to communicate with friends and read the posts from fans. He read ever comment every friend and fan posted.
Cold Chisel’s Steve Prestwich was one of those friends who communicated with Harvey via Facebook in this past month. Steve passed away on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the music world lost Harvey. Steve was only diagnosed with a brain tumour two weeks ago and underwent an operation for its removal on Friday. He did not recover from the operation.
On December 13 Steve Prestwich sent Harvey James the following message via Facebook, “thinking of you harvey … love and best wishes”.
Harvey, although then seriously affected by lung cancer, was well enough to respond on December 31 and wrote back, “Good onya Stevie boy, straight back at you, Harv”.
The two musicians had a lot in common. They were both members of iconic Australian bands. Sherbet was arguably Australia’s greatest ever pop group and Cold Chisel was one of our greatest ever rock bands.
Many Sherbet fans as teenagers of the 70s grew up to become the Cold Chisel fans of the 80s. It was like the passing of the baton.
Harvey was in the early 70s band Mississippi with Graeham Goble and Beeb Birtles who went on to form Little River Band. Steve joined Little River Band after the break-up of Cold Chisel in 1985. Their careers bookended each other.
Both Sherbet and Cold Chisel contributed to the music landscape of this country. They were the soundtrack to Australia. You would be hard-pressed to find teenage Australian in the 70s or 80s who did not own one of their records.
The Australian music industry is a small industry. Everyone knows everyone. It was a true industry tragedy to see two such close-knit personalities leave us on the same flight out.
R.I.P. Harvey James (1952-2011) and Steve Prestwich (1954-2011).