Sunday, April 22, 2007

R.I.P. Lobby Loyde

AUSTRALIA lost a rock 'n' roll legend when Lobby Loyde, 65, died in Melbourne at the weekend.

The guitarist who was credited with teaching Billy Thorpe how to "really" play, died from cancer at 9pm (AEST) on Saturday at a Melbourne hospital.

The man who performed so memorably in bands such as the Aztecs and the Coloured Balls died with his family and his favourite black Gibson guitar by his side.

Friends and fans were amazed he'd battled the disease for as long as he did, saying it was a testament to his courageous character.

Pop music guru Molly Meldrum said it was typical of Loyde to have outlasted experts' diagnosis.

"He was very, very sick and he was very brave in the way he handled it too," Meldrum said.

"Lobby was one of those amazing characters. I mean, he was a brilliant guitarist and he was also just an incredible character.

"Family and friends were very important to him, and he had some great friends in his family as well."

Meldrum said Loyde and his good friend, Thorpe, who died in February, laid the foundations of Australia's rock music scene.

"We were talking about this at Billy's funeral. What became pub rock, they more or less paved the way for it," Meldrum said.

"They set a scene, and Melbourne became the rock capital of Australia - whether Sydney liked it or not.

"Once you took him off the stage and away from his guitar there was a different person.

"A very thoughtful and a very intelligent person, quite frankly.

"And that combination, plus the brilliance of him as a musician, people just absolutely revered him."

Music writer Ian McFarlane said he was honoured to have had Loyde as a friend.

"He was a generous, warm-hearted and very funny man too," McFarlane said.

"The weirdest thing is that he was at Billy's funeral and not the other way around."