Harvey James

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Harvey James
Birth name Harvey William James Harrop
Born (1952-09-20)20 September 1952
Sheffield, England
Died 15 January 2011(2011-01-15) (aged 58)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Genres Pop-rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1972–2010
Associated acts Sayla, Mississippi, Ariel, Sherbet, The Party Boys
Notable instruments
Fender Stratocaster

Harvey William James (20 September 1952 – 15 January 2011) was an Australian rock guitarist. He was a member of the bands Mississippi, Ariel, Sherbet and The Party Boys. Born in Sheffield, England as Harvey James Harrop, he migrated with his parents to Australia in the early 1960s.[1]


James' first major group was the early 1970s band Mississippi, which also featured Beeb Birtles, Graham Goble Charlie Tumahai and Derek Pellicci on drums. He played on the band's hit single "Will I" after replacing Kerryn Tolhurst and was part of their appearance at Sunbury Rock Festival in 1974.[1]

Mississippi sailed to the UK in April 1974, working on the Sitmar Line ship Fairsky but broke up after arriving. Birtles and Goble reconstituted the band, with Pellicci, in early 1975 after their return to Australia, recruiting new members and changing the name to Little River Band.[2]

After his return to Australia, James joined progressive rock group Ariel, with Mike Rudd and Bill Putt and returned to the UK with them in 1974, where they recorded their second album Rock & Roll Scars at Abbey Road Studios. He remained with Ariel until early 1975, by which time the band had added a fifth member, singer-guitarist Glyn Mason.[3]

James shot to national prominence in Australia in early 1975, when he left Ariel to replace founding member Clive Shakespeare in the chart-topping Australian pop band Sherbet. His first recording with them was their biggest hit, "Howzat", which became an Australian #1 and made the Top 5 in the UK Singles Chart.[4] He remained with the group until they split in 1979, but he reunited with them (alongside original guitarist Clive Shakespeare) for several Sherbet reunions. He also participated in a reunion of the second line-up of Ariel in 1998. James was an original member of The Party Boys, playing on their first two albums.

Illness and death[edit]

James was diagnosed with lung cancer in July 2010. A benefit gig, 'Gimme That Guitar', was organised by friends and supporters, taking place in Melbourne on 18 November 2010.[5] A second concert was planned for Sydney on 17 February 2011.

James died on 15 January 2011 aged 58.[6] Sherbet lead singer Daryl Braithwaite posted a message at his website.[7] James is survived by his wife, Faye, sons Gabriel and Joshua, and daughter Alexandra.[8]


  1. ^ a b Brown, Jen Jewel (3 February 2011). "A witty larrikin who used his Fender to put the fizz into Sherbet". smh.com.au. Retrieved 5 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Ian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Rock & Pop (Allen & Unwin, 1999), pp. 421–422.
  3. ^ McFarlane, op. cit., pp. 23–24.
  4. ^ Adams, Cameron (2011-01-17). "Tributes flow from rock heavyweights Herald Sun 17 January 2011". Adelaidenow.com.au. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  5. ^ "Gimme that Guitar - A benefit for Harvey James". Fender.com.au. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Cashmere, Paul (2011-01-16). "(Undercover News, ''Harvey James loses battle with cancer'')". Undercover.fm. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  7. ^ Cashmere, Paul (17 January 2011). "Daryl Braithwaite Posts Message For Harvey James". undercover.fm. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  8. ^ McCabe, Kathy (17 January 2011). "Cancer kills Sherbet pop legend Harvey James". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 

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