News September 16, 2020

Original Skyhooks guitarist Peter Starkie passes away, aged 72

Original Skyhooks guitarist Peter Starkie passes away, aged 72
Sky Hooks Original Lineup (Peter Starkie in Front)

One of the original Skyhooks guitarists, Peter Starkie, died at his home in Melbourne on September 13, in what his younger brother Bob Starkie called “one of those stupid ladder accidents”.

The elder Starkie was part of the original R&B scene in Melbourne which grew up in the mid-1960s.

His Air Force father’s work had taken the family to many locations, including London between 1961 and 1963, around the time The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Yardbirds had exploded.

In an obit posted by Bob on his Facebook page, he wrote: “Peter started guitar lessons and when we returned to Melbourne he was ahead of the game.”

He started forming bands like Kingbees with David Flett. In between he did a science degree at University of Melbourne, coincidentally with a future Skyhook guitarist, Red Symons.

Starkie was part of the original lineup of the Hooks that got together in 1973 with Greg Macainsh, Freddie Strauks, Peter Ingliss and Steve Hill.

Named after a fictional organisation in the 1956 film Earth vs. the Flying Saucers, they made their live debut in April 1973.

But Starkie left four months later, to be replaced by Bob.

“Peter was instrumental in me starting to play guitar when he bought me one for Christmas one year (only because he couldn’t stand me playing the drums),” the latter recalled.

A year after Peter’s departure, Skyhooks, now fronted by charismatic singer Shirley Strachan,  became a national phenomenon with their first two albums Living In The ‘70s and Ego Is Not A Dirty Word.

Starkie went on to become part of Jo Jo Zep & The Falcons, who within weeks of making their live debut, were starting to sell out shows.

He left the Falcons a year later, and continued to play in various bands in the R&B scene along the East Coast, including with another early Skyhooks guitarist Peter Inglis.

This week Skyhooks said their farewell to their original guitarist by posting a video at a soundcheck at a Melbourne pub doing ‘Toorak Cowboy’.

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